Raising Finance

Tottenham Hotspur FC shares made available via online marketplace

4 min read

29 February 2016

Former editor

The shares of London-based football club Tottenham Hotspur will, following interest from shareholders, be offered up via a series of auctions hosted through online platform Asset Match.

Tottenham were delisted from London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) at the beginning of 2012 after determining that its status on the junior market did not provide enough flexibility to obtain funding for development.

From that point onward, shares in the football club were traded via its registrar, Capita. In recent times, Tottenham has secured the capital it needs for the Northumberland Development Project, which will result in a new 61,000-seater stadium and move away from its current home – White Hart Lane.

While the Premier League team has some 30,000 shareholders, over half only own a solitary share. Most of the club, around 85 per cent, is owned by Daniel Levy and Joe Lewis.

Explaining why the decision was made to make shares available online, Asset Match co-CEO Stuart Lucas said: “In our discussions with shareholders it is clear that they are frustrated by the lack of transparency in the current arrangements.

“Neither buyers nor sellers can see any pricing and there are no details of completed transactions. Because of this they cannot be sure they are getting a fair price for their shares and this is causing liquidity issues for minority shareholders.”

Asset Match revealed that it contacted Tottenham Hotspur and was advised by its management that it was happy with the current service from Capita. After going to Asset Match for more details, Real Business was told that some shareholders didn’t feel the current system worked. As such, Asset Match approached Tottenham management first with a few different ideas, not only to create liquidity for the slightly larger minority shareholders, but also with ways to consolidate all the one share shareholders. They were told by management that were happy with their current arrangements, but Asset Match felt that there was sufficient interest from shareholders who want greater liquidity to go ahead.

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The auctions, the first of which will begin on 10 March and end on 17 March, will allow registered users to place buy and sell limit orders for when trading commences. According to a statement, at the close of the auction, a non-discretionary algorithm determines the final price and the number of shares that will trade. The indicative closing price is visible throughout the auction. Subject to any demand or supply constraints, buyers with bids higher than or equal to the final price will be successful and sellers with offers lower than or equal to the final price will be successful.

Lucas went on to say: “Our aim is to help shareholders in private businesses to achieve liquidity in their investment. Tottenham Hotspur has a significant number of minority shareholders with substantial holdings who collectively own over 28m shares. It is these investors who would benefit from our open and transparent share trading platform. Because the shares are freely transferable and CREST enabled we are able to assist those who are restricted by the inherent illiquidity of the current arrangement.”

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