Swansea City up for sale ?
Wednesday, 25th May 2022 14:16 by @Cornish67David & Keith Haynes
The question has to be asked after several sources have disclosed that Swansea City’s majority owners are willing to listen to offers for the club. Now, we know this isn’t unusual, everything is for sale no matter the circumstances, but what makes this time that different ?
USA investors Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan took a majority stake in the club in July 2016 but they have since seen the its valuation drop following their relegation from the Premier League. The only assets seem to be the players unearthed over the past twelve months or so. Michael Obafemi, Joel Piroe and Flynn Downes stand out. With Mark Allen and Andy Scott who were primarily involved in recruitment now both departed from the club without solid replacements there are some ominous signs in place already.
Levien and Kaplan have been guiding the club for six years
Scott and Allen were mainly involved in the growth of the club by way of player assets. Bring them in cheap and sell them for the best price, and let’s be honest that didn’t really work as everyone expected. The players the Americans have taken advantage of like Oli McBurnie, Dan James and Joe Rodon were gems from the Swansea academy and under 23 sides of old, not as a result of current hard work.
CEO Julian Winter continues to hold the ship steady, but for how long ? And the reason why we ask that question is that a variety of sources believe the current majority owners have quietly been canvassing people as to their interest in the swans. Their gamble on Steve Cooper in his second season in charge at Swansea, retaining the astronomical salary of Andre Ayew as an example backfired at Wembley dramatically. Add to that this season has seen some discontent with the appointment of Russell Martin and his coaching team.
Julian Winter, two years at the Swansea helm
Why the swans would be touted as ‘for sale’ at this stage to some will sound strange, but now is the best time. The club can cash in on its player assets and the sale price ( which is believed to be around thirty million ) will repay in part the current investors. The premier league cash has also gone remember, and although gate receipts and commercial endeavour have slightly improved last season that is nowhere near enough for the owners to believe there’s some light ahead for promotion to the premier league.
Weighing up the financial situation, the player assets and the loss of the parachute payments, especially to owners who see themselves as guardians and not investors is the current situation. Jake Silverstein as an example, a business associate of Kaplan and Levien, has put cash in but only in the form of a loan. The only way any sale would work openly is by the club selling their assets ( players ) repaying their debts and taking the excess cash to walk away. But will it be enough capital to satisfy the Americans ? Having spoken to a number of informed swans watchers in recent days it is time to ask this question. Can the current owners pour any doubt that there has been a ‘prospectus’ out there in certain arenas, and if so what does that information contain ? With that being the belief let’s hear from the club and have at least an honest acknowledgement that this is the case ( or deny it ) And is there any interested party ? That seems improbable unless another as yet untried and untested group of investors are interested. And they would have to have a lot of spare money to proceed.
The other option is for the Americans to retain some interest in Swansea City for the future, or be able to cash in if any new owner succeeds in getting the club to the premier league. Whatever is going on we know now there is concern, not only at Swansea City itself, but within some of the more informed people we talk to.
Remember when the original sale went ahead in 2016 Phil Sumbler, then supporters trust chairman stated “There is no point in a deal without money for the club; that would just be a sale for the shareholders’ personal gain. He pointed out that supporters’ unpaid work and donations have contributed to Swansea’s remarkable revival over the past fifteen years and massive increase in financial value.”The shareholders are mostly lifelong fans” he stated. “And we have always believed throughout our partnership with them that they have the best interests of the club at heart.”
We would never disagree with that, but that was before Huw Jenkins had a free reign given to him after the takeover by the Americans believing he could turn small figure signings in to gold. And since then the club has had to cleverly negotiate three years of payback and cut backs as a result. The parachute payments helped but the pandemic did not. Those sales of Dan James, McBurnnie and Rodon also helped massively. In total believed to be around forty million pounds. Since then as always happens Jenkins and his original investors have taken a certain degree of abuse. As have the Americans over time, in fact if you get involved in Swansea matters at any level there’s a plethora of fools queuing up to scapegoat people.
If you disagree that’s fine, but the usual names always appeared after the original sale was made. Martin Morgan, Huw Jenkins and Leigh Dineen are often referred to but one of the original 2002 investors, the South African businessman Brian Katzen and business partner, Jeffrey Crevoiserat never get a mention. And there are others, people really do need to know their worth when it comes to hanging out certain people to dry.
There is a deficit at the club today but it isn’t massive by comparison to most clubs. Any deal to sell Swansea City will take a decent amount of time and negotiation. The Americans have many other small interest investors behind them, and they won’t want to lose all their cash. But it is an investment remember, and they will most certainly be aware of the possibilities attached to what will always be perceived as a ‘punt’ when taking ‘control’ of sorts over a football league club.
There have been numerous interested parties over the last few years, nothing has come to fruition, the latest is Leandro Rodrigues, a baffling businessman who has made some currency from his investments, but nowhere near what is required to run a club at Swansea’s level. He has referenced Swansea City as a club he will announce as a part of a ‘takeover’ in the coming weeks. He is in the UK from Sunday and has subtly mentioned he will be in a variety of cities next week. We spoke to Leandro but he didn’t call us back when he said he would. If he had at least he would have had a platform to put his reasoning behind him talking about the swans. His whole agenda as it stands is complicated, without any real foundation and flawed. But with the club ‘apparently’ and according to some most certainly talking to interested parties, or at least encouraging discussion it seems odd he would mention Swansea City in the past week. An extremely coincidental comment if he is bluffing ? Or as we suspect as it stands a double edged remark to prove to Brazilian club De Remo he is a top investor. They are another football club rumoured to be of interest to him.
It’s difficult to weigh up a man like this with his track record in business.
We reported on leandro here in the last few days 🔘 Leandro Rodrigues report
When sources do get concerned regards speculation on Swansea City matters, we, as do any website or supporter have every right to ask the questions we have today. It’s a simple yes or no, is our club about to be negotiated for by interested parties or not ? And maybe you can add ‘Has there been a document circulated regards that sale ?’
The now maligned supporters trust who agreed to cease court action in February over the 2016 sale for a financial package have not mentioned anything to date.
It’s important we all know the answer, because secret discussions regards the sale of Swansea City cannot happen again. Surely certain people have learned from that little scenario ?
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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