UK Legal News – DLA Piper Advises David Sullivan on West Ham Takeover – UK Legal Newswire –

DLA Piper has advised David Sullivan on his acquisition of a 50% stake in West Ham

DLA Piper has acted as legal adviser to David Sullivan on his purchase of a 50% stake in West Ham United Football Club which was announced today. The deal gives him operational control of the club. The other 50% of West Ham is retained by asset management company CB Holding, although David Sullivan has an option to purchase the remaining stake. The deal was completed in record time to enable the club to take advantage of the transfer window which closes on 1 February.

The team from DLA Piper advising on the deal comprised Mel Sims (Partner) and Patrick Tweedale (Associate) in Corporate, and Alex Griffith (Partner) and Sarah Walters (Associate) in Banking.

This deal follows DLA Piper’s recent work for Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC Bank plc in relation to the public to private takeover of five-a-side football pitch operator Powerleague, where they advised lenders on a deal to provide £43 million senior debt facilities to refinance existing facilities and fund the company’s expansion plans, and underlines the firm’s experience and expertise in the leisure sector, and football in particular.

Commenting on the deal, Mel Sims, Partner, said:

“I am delighted to have completed this deal, which represents a great outcome both for our client and the football club.”

“The professional football sector is currently in a fascinating position, and I think there is likely to be further acquisition and investment activity in 2010. Many of the top flight clubs have taken on heavy debt burdens over the last 3-5 years and are now looking to restructure their finances or bring in new equity to fund the ever-hungry transfer requirements of their managers. In addition to that, a number of “trophy” owners are looking to exit what is proving to be a much harder business-model than perhaps they had first imagined, and I anticipate several major clubs taking part in corporate activity of one sort or another during the course of the year.”

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