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OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
Boonie (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 09:34
Saracens put up for sale

South African investors want to pull out with club losing millions a year

Owen Slot, Chief Rugby Correspondent

April 3 2018, 12:01am, The Times

The future stability of the leading club in English rugby has been thrown into question after the South Africans who own 50 per cent of Saracens told The Times that they want to sell their stake in the club.

Saracens have been England’s top club in recent seasons. In a poor year for English teams in Europe, they were the last side left in the Champions Cup until they were knocked out by Leinster in the quarter-finals on Sunday. The success of the English club model will come under further scrutiny as Saracens join a number of others either up for sale or seeking investment.

Eleven of the 12 Premiership clubs operated at a loss last year, with Exeter Chiefs the exception. Saracens recorded losses of £2.74 million, which was a considerable improvement on previous years. Other clubs for sale, such as London Irish and Worcester Warriors, have struggled to find buyers.

Nigel Wray, the chairman and owner of the other 50 per cent of Saracens, said that his co-owners’ decision to sell will have no immediate effect as he can step in to buy them out. However, Wray is looking to the longer term and wants to persuade other investors to come forward because he cannot indefinitely be the club’s sole financial foundation.

The South Africans’ arrival at Saracens ten years ago triggered the most successful period in the club’s history. The north London side have won the Premiership three times since 2010-11 and were European champions for the past two seasons.

The investment was led by Johann Rupert, a businessman rated by Forbes, the business magazine, as the third wealthiest man in Africa with a net worth of $6.9 billion (about £4.9 billion).

The investment caused controversy due to the large number of South Africans who joined the club. Rupert wanted the ownership to provide a home for South Africans wishing to play abroad and yet maintain their links with the Springboks. However, the players who came tended, instead, to be cut off from the Springbok system. Therefore, for two reasons, the original justification for the investment no longer holds: because the number of South Africans has dwindled and because of the continuing operating losses.

When Rupert walks away, he will be writing off debts of about £25 million. However, it was not personal debts that have persuaded him to sell. The 50 per cent share is not owned by him but by a public company, Remgro, of which he is chairman and a 7 per cent shareholder.

“Remgro is a public company,” Rupert said. “Is it therefore right to support a rugby club? One should not be using public shareholders’ money for your own loves.”

The club management has always been more closely operated by Wray. “The club is really Nigel’s baby and everyone knows that,” Rupert said.

It therefore seems to make sense for Wray to buy back the 50 per cent that he sold to Remgro ten years ago. The South Africans may retain a smaller stake, though Wray has indicated that he could go back up to a short-term holding of 100 per cent.

The club are looking for two backers. One would be a property investor to help to finance the rebuilding of the west stand at Allianz Park, the club’s ground in north London. The intention is that the new west stand will generate its own income, some of which would offset the club’s losses.

That would make it a more attractive investment for a second (or more) investor(s). The Saracens ownership comes under the name of a holding company, Premier Team Holdings, whose losses in the past four financial years were £5.31 million, £3.99 million, £3.27 million and £2.74 million. The intention, with money generated by the new west stand, is that the losses will shrink to the point where the club will start to break even.

The question for Saracens is therefore twofold: will they be able to find a new buyer? And, until they do, is Wray happy to continue covering the losses required to keep a squad that can compete at the top of the game together? For now at least, Wray insists that he will stand by the club that he has done so much to build.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to bleat about it all over the internet"

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
ninjafez (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 10:25

Ninjafez - supporting Sarries and cleaning their signs since 2006!

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
Monte (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 12:09
One wag on the Sarries board think the RFU should invest as ‘as Sarries have so many in the EPS squad!

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
Stooperman (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 13:46
Bwahahahahaahahaha, the club who pushed the salary cap higher and basically threatened the PRL that they could afford better lawyers than the PRL has run out of Rand.

Such a shame (Sm128)

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
raedarius (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 14:01
The actual story is that recent tax law changes in South Africa make losses on overseas investments problematic, particularly for a public company. How many of us would have read that headline?

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
DOK. (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 20:40
Well, I'm sure Uncle Rupert could have funded them personally from his own pocket money if he really wanted to keep them!

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
DOK. (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 20:48
Feeling a very satisfying bit of schadenfreude here, having predicted several years ago that one day Uncle Rupes would get bored and take away his ball. It's not necessarily a bad thing for Saracens, they are still European Champions after all and in the mix for the championship. But there always seemed a bit of a culture clash between the South African rugby culture and the English one.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2018 20:55 by DOK.

An early Xmas present?
Nemoquin (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 08:07
The Times reports that the South Africans who own 50% of Saracens have put their shares up for sale.

Re: An early Xmas present?
Scaramouche (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 09:07
Bad QP.


If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try and Try again.

Re: An early Xmas present?
DOK. (IP Logged)
03 April, 2018 20:58
The following threads can be merged into one thread:

Thread: 'OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?'
Thread: 'An early Xmas present?'

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
blucherquin (IP Logged)
04 April, 2018 07:53
I think the bigger problem is what it means for the Premiership in general - as the Times suggests - the funding model isn't sustainable.

Average crowds are going up but that's pushed a lot by the big "event" games - most are well under 10k, which isn't a lot of ticket revenue.

Players are costing more, and if they aren't careful, concerns about concussion and head injuries are going to stop a lot of the grass routes growing as well.

I know a senior sports reporter who loves rugby but predicts it'll actually shrink in the next 10 years because of the combination of the above factors - which isn't going to make it very "investable".

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
Scaramouche (IP Logged)
04 April, 2018 18:49
Is a grass route like when seedlings pop through the surface?

If at first you don't succeed, Try, Try and Try again.

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
Mayor West (IP Logged)
04 April, 2018 19:09
No, it's a road or pathway covered in grass. Or it could be the way that lorries travel while transporting turf to its destination . Like the spice routes of old.

Re: OT - Anyone want to buy Saracens?
blucherquin (IP Logged)
04 April, 2018 20:04
Is a grass route like when seedlings pop through the surface?

Stupid predictive text on my phone

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