Raising Finance

Football club Bournemouth turns to private equity for growth funds

3 min read

09 November 2015

Former editor

Premier League team AFC Bournemouth has become the latest club to turn to overseas investors for support, this time utilising the private equity route.

Chicago-based PEAK6 Investments has emerged as a new minority shareholder, snapping up a 25 per cent stake in the Dorset team.

The firm has other ties to sport including National Hockey League (NHL) team Minnesota Wild, which is is owned by PEAK6 co-founder Matt Hulsizer.

Bournemouth were promoted to the top tier of English football, the Premier League, from the Championship at the culmination of the 2014/15 season. As recently as 2010 the team was in the fourth level of English football.

According to a statement, AFC Bournemouth and its management team have “established a relationship” with Hulsizer over the last 15 months, and will use the new funds to “deliver long-term success”. The coming together will also provide “strategic insight and international presence”.

Explaining why he has taken a stake in AFC Bournemouth, Hulsizer commented: “I was introduced to the club over two seasons ago and since then I have followed the club’s progress and seen the tremendous accomplishments in that time. With Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall managing the team, I am confident that we can establish ourselves in the top flight.”

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Research by the Guardian and the Tax Justice Network in April found that 28 English clubs have “substantial” shareholdings overseas. Major teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool are majority backed by overseas investors.

The Premier League has opened itself up to global business people including Alisher Usmanov (Russia), the Srivaddhanaprabha family (Thailand), the Glazer family (US) and Katharina Liebherr (Switzerland).

However, AFC Bournmouth’s decision to utilise private equity makes it a unique case for the Premier League, with others opting for individual personalities/families or the stock market.

AFC Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn said: “The club is confident this partnership will further strengthen its ability to compete with the very best, and provide a platform to establish itself as a long-term Premier League club.”

AFC Bournemouth currently sit 18th out of 20 in the Premier League, and is expected to now invest in new players during the January transfer window to deal with injury problems in the existing squad.

Russian owner Max Demin, who helped bankroll the team’s journey to the top flight, will remain involved.

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