Mar 272017
 

A bit late putting this out there but on the 20th March the first rumours of a proposed takeover at Portsmouth surfaced. The following statement was issued by the PST.

The PST board are aware that an article in ‘The News’ today will create significant interest.

A club such as OURS, with its incredible fan base, is bound to attract interest from possible buyers, and it is our duty to listen to any serious and credible offer for the football club.

If there is a serious and credible offer, our shareholders will decide the outcome.

The 3 PST Directors of Portsmouth Community Football Club will be fully involved in discussions. We understand how much owning your club means and retaining an ownership stake will be central to any discussions we enter in to.

We are in the process of finding a date for a shareholders meeting which will give you an opportunity to hear more information on any prospective bid to purchase the club, and a full opportunity to air your views.

A date for this meeting will be communicated in due course.

Later this was followed up by an official statement from Portmouth Football Club

Since the club’s exit from administration in 2013, the board of directors and staff have worked tirelessly to restore our fans’ faith in the club and – as club custodians – have continually striven to improve both on and off-field performance.

A cornerstone of this work has been our openness and transparency with shareholders and supporters alike, while at the same time also respecting the confidentiality and commercial sensitivity of business agreements and contracts.

We would like to assure all shareholders and supporters that we have a robust process in place to deal with any potential offers of investment.

If we reach a point where such an offer of investment into the club is made, then ultimately it will be for all our shareholders – of which the PST is the single largest – to decide whether such new investment would be in the club’s best interest.

We believe this to be the true definition of a fan-owned club, allowing those supporters who have invested to have the final say on the future direction of the club.

We will make no further comment at this stage and assure all fans that, as always, we continue to work in the best interests of Portsmouth Football Club.

Which basically told us nothing.

Many an article has surfaced since then relating to Mr Michael Eisner and he appears on the surface to be the real deal. Unlike previous potential owners who have had many skeletons in their closets this guy seems whiter than white having been CEO of both Disney and Paramount during his career. The man is also insanely rich. The stories soon moved beyond rumours to facts including three tweets from Mr Eisner himself relating to the club.

It remains to be seen whether a deal will be done but in my opinion the club needs it to progress. The “fan owned” idea is great and can only take us so far. Some believe we can stay fan owned and make the Premier League, I believe that is impossible and an opinion backed up by most realists and those with proper knowledge of the club. Attendances of 16000+ give us a good basis but with no outside income it limits us to mid-table League One. In addition Fratton Park is falling down and there is a real possibility of parts of it closing in years to come.

My small share stake will give me a vote, my understanding is that 75% of the vote is required to allow a sale to go through, the PST hold a stake of approx 48% which gived them the power of veto.

On March 23rd the Club issued the following statement announcing a period of “exclusivity” meaning we will not negotiate a sale with anyone else in the meantime.

Portsmouth Community Football Club would like to advise all shareholders and supporters that it has entered into an Exclusivity Agreement with Michael D. Eisner and his Tornante Group to allow for a period of discussions and negotiations to take place regarding a possible purchase of the club.

The agreement is simply to ensure that during this period, which will be 70 days, the club will not engage in discussions with any other potential bidder and is standard practice in these situations.

We thought it best to explain this in a Q&A format, that we hope our fans will find useful:

Q: Is this a done deal then?

A: No, it is not. Put simply, this now enables the club to exclusively enter into a period of negotiation and due diligence with Mr Eisner and his Tornante Group to establish the detailed terms he proposes.

Q: Due diligence – what does that entail?

A: Mr Eisner and Tornante will be reviewing our business and financial information, and equally we will be checking out their own respective financial and business credentials.

Q: What form will the negotiations take?

A: The Board and Mr Eisner will look to negotiate the terms of what would effectively be the best and final offer they wish to make for the club; at which point we will advise all shareholders – both Presidents and those with the PST – on the terms of the offer. Shareholders will then be asked by the club and the PST to vote to either accept or reject the offer.

Q: Who will be leading the negotiations?

A: The Board have retained Trevor Birch to advise them during the negotiating process and he will liaise with all of the stakeholders in the club. Trevor is a managing director of global corporate advisory firm Duff and Phelps, and has unique experience of dealing not only with potential investors at a variety of clubs, but also possesses an insight specifically into PCFC, its community ethos and intricacies of the current fan ownership model.

Q: Will there be an opportunity for Mr Eisner to explain in person his vision and plans for the club’s future to shareholders?

A: Yes, the intention would be for Mr Eisner to explain his future strategy and plans for the club to all shareholders.
As all our supporters are aware, on the pitch we now enter the final, crucial phase of the season.

We can assure all fans that in the background we will now discreetly and privately engage in this next stage of discussions, while our focus will remain on supporting the football staff and players until the end of the season.

The next few weeks will probably be rife with rumours and opinions (often stated as facts) but little will be made public.

Here’s hoping for the best!

Portsmouth Football ClubMichael Eisner

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