Zimbabwean Banker Fails to buy English Premiership Club West Ham

Stan Mabika

A LONDON-BASED Zimbabwean investment banker was part of a failed bid by a high-powered consortium, which wanted to take over high-flying English Premiership club West Ham United, in a deal worth about US$2 billion.

While the club is valued at about US$952 million, the consortium also wanted to acquire the London Stadium, which West Ham use as a home ground.

It was constructed specifically for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The multi-purpose stadium cost more than US$1,02 billion, when the bill of renovations, is factored into the picture.

Negotiations had taken place between the consortium and the London Legacy Development Corporation, the group who manage the facility, over the acquisition of the London Stadium.

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Stan Mabika, the 43-year-old banker with more than 15 years in London’s financial services sector, and his colleagues at Profit Access Investments, tabled two bids, for the acquisition of the Hammers.

Mabika largely covers Asset Management, Advisory, Venture Capital, and Private Equity, mostly specialising in Regulatory Compliance, Anti Money Laundering, Risk Management and Investment portfolio reviews.

He is a director at PAI Capital Ltd, in charge of Mergers and Acquisitions strategies, covering origination and structuring risk management, while also guiding the company’s compliance with the financial regulations.

The private investment company has offices in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai and have assets worth more than US$20 billion, under their management team.

Azerbaijani businessman, Nasib Piriyev, is the managing partner at the firm.

Other key members of the firm are Matthew McGahan, the other managing partner, and partners Simon Lewis and Philip Beard, a former chief executive of English Championship side, Queens Park Rangers.

However, the London club, who are enjoying a resurgence under the guidance of manager, David Moyes, rejected the two bids by PAI Capital Ltd.

“I am disappointed that we cannot conclude the deal as hoped, as we have some big ideas for the club,’’ Piriyev the PAI Capital Ltd managing partner, said in a statement.

“This is something we have been working on for over nine months, with a committed team behind the bid.

“West Ham is close to my heart and I hope that our interest has been healthy for the club — I believe that all competition is good for focusing minds and improving performance.

“Of course, we respect the owners’ wishes and simply put on the record that we are here if, and when, they decide the time is right for them to sell.

“Until then, I wish all the best to the club, and I thank the fans for their patience, understanding and support.”

PAI Capital said on their official website their second offer was premised on the following key elements:

The club (West Ham) would benefit from a £150 million cash injection to be used for the development of the training ground, youth academy, scouting set-up and, more importantly, player purchase across the men’s and women’s teams.

The club would own the London Stadium and be part of a group with a joint venture interest across the Olympic Park, elevating the club’s status in the park and allowing it to have a greater influence in relation to pathways and usage in and around the London Stadium.

All existing shareholders would be paid a share price on a valuation considerably higher than the current market valuation of the club.

“Mr Sullivan (David, co-chairman and largest single shareholder at West Ham) has, unfortunately, declined the offer on the offer on the basis that, with the team performing so well, it is not the right time to sell.

“PAI Capital notes his decision and, given that it is one of timing, and not price, the company is unable to take things forward, at this stage.

“PAI Capital’s interest remains, however, and should things change, will be ready and willing to proceed.’’

The bid by PAI was supported by former West Ham stars, who include Rio Ferdinand, his brother Anton and former striker Tony Cottee.

While Mabika and his team might have failed to complete their mega deal, and secure ownership of a Premiership club, it appears a Czech-based billionaire might succeed, where their consortium came short. According to Sky News, Daniel Kretinsky, is in advanced talks to acquire a 27 percent stake in the Hammers.

The tycoon owns considerable stakes in Royal Mail and J Sainsbury.

The transaction for his 27 percent acquisition, according to Sky News, could be announced before the weekend when West Ham host Liverpool, in a Premiership showdown.

And, the eventual mission is for a complete takeover of the club.

“Mr Kretinsky’s initial stake purchase is likely to value the club at between £600m and £700m, according to one person briefed on the transaction,’’ Sky News reported.

“If he proceeds to take full control of West Ham, it would end the decade-long control of David Gold and David Sullivan, who acquired the club in 2010.

“If confirmed, it would be the latest in a series of major deals involving Premier League clubs, following the controversial sale of Newcastle United to a Saudi-led consortium.

“Mr Kretinsky, who owns assets in the energy, media, industrial and retail sectors, has become a significant player in corporate Britain, and now ranks as the largest shareholder in Royal Mail, and the second-largest in Sainsbury’s.’’

There will still be a Zimbabwean interest, in the West Ham deal, if the Czech billionaire takes full ownership of the club.

Krentinsky is also the owner of Sparta Prague, the most successful Czech Republic club in history, with a record 36 league titles.

They also won the UEFA Cup in 1973 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 1992.

For seven years, Sparta Prague provided a home for Zimbabwe international footballer, Costa Nhamoinesu, who featured in 146 matches for them, scoring nine goals.

He also became the first African player to be handed the honour to captain the club.-Herald