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Sullivan and Kretinsky sit tight at West Ham despite end of penalty sale clause

Sullivan and Kretinsky sit tight at West Ham despite end of penalty sale clause

  • London Stadium move clause expired this month
  • Outcome of relegation fight will shape next moves

Daniel Kretinsky and David Sullivan have no plans to change the ownership of West Ham before the end of the season despite the expiry of a 10-year penalty clause that effectively clears the way for a potential sale. Under the terms of West Ham’s move to the London Stadium, Sullivan and David Gold, the co-owner who died in January, were liable to pay a punitive financial penalty to the government if the club were sold for more than £300m.

That clause expired this month and there has long been an expectation of changes in the West Ham boardroom after that. Kretinsky, who became the second-largest shareholder when he bought a 27% stake in November 2021, has been regarded as the likeliest figure to assume charge.

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The Czech billionaire agreed an option for a full takeover at a set price when he bought his shares. He has first option on Sullivan’s 38.8% stake and second on Gold’s 25.1%. But he cannot proceed unless Gold’s family and Sullivan are willing sellers and West Ham’s struggles this season have cooled talk of a takeover. They are a point above the bottom three and there is doubt over whether Kretinsky would want to increase his shareholding in the event of relegation.

The situation has been described as “messy” by club insiders. Adding to the uncertainty are indications that Sullivan has first refusal on Gold’s stake. Sullivan, the largest shareholder and most influential figure, bought West Ham with Gold in January 2010 and would regain a majority shareholding if he took his former business partner’s stake.

However, Sullivan needs to see whether West Ham are in the Premier League next season before making a decision. Sources have suggested he does not want to sell to Kretinsky, who would assume majority control if Gold’s shares went to him.

Clarity is unlikely soon. Gold’s shares are likely to pass to his family in the first instance, but are expected to lie in probate for at least six months after his death. It remains to be seen whether Gold’s relatives intend to remain at West Ham.

This post was originally published on this site

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