Sport Republic buy Southampton F.C. shares



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New owner for Southampton FC Image: Southampton FC

The Premier League club Southampton Football Club (UK) has confirmed that Sport Republic has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in Southampton Football Club.

‘Southampton FC’ stated that Sport Republic is an investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. They have purchased the shareholding of the club held by Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng and will work in partnership with Katharina Liebherr who retains her minority shareholding.

The Southampton Football Club is an English professional football club based in Southampton, Hampshire (UK), which competes in the Premier League. Their home ground since 2001 has been the St Mary’s Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. The club plays in red and white shirts.

The St Mary’s Stadium is an all-seater football stadium in Southampton, England (UK), which has been the home stadium of Premier League club Southampton F.C. since 2001. The stadium has a capacity of 32,384 and is currently the largest football stadium in South East England.

Sport Republic is a London-based (UK) investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. Founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and backed by Lead Investor Dragan Šolak, Sport Republic’s vision is to apply proprietary intelligence and data analytics to help sports businesses and sports technology companies reach their full potential.

‘Southampton FC’ quoted Martin Semmens, head honcho of Southampton Football Club, as stating, “Over the last two years, together with the shareholders of our club, we have searched for the right partner to take the club forward. Today (January 4th) we have found the perfect solution for our club. Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced within the world of elite professional sports. That combination is very hard to find, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement that secures our short- and long-term future. We are grateful for the support of Gao and Katharina that allowed us to take our time, turn away the wrong options and ultimately find the right partner for the future of this great club, its fans, staff and the people of Southampton.”

Added Semmens, “Today (January 4th) we welcome a new beginning with a new ownership group. We have found partners with ambition for the future, but with a clear understanding of what Southampton stands for and the direction we must go in now. The strategy is to push forward with the plans we have had in place over the last two years, but with their support we can now do this with a renewed focus and speed. Continuity, stability and clarity of the way forward are equally as important as the new initiatives and ideas we can now bring to the club. Sport Republic is being built to provide a network of people, clubs and technology that allows the clubs within it to grow every day and gain the advantages you need to be successful. As a club, we have never wanted to buy success, but to earn it. Sport Republic gives us the power to improve our operations at every level, helping us to reach for the success our staff works so hard for and our fans crave. Everyone at Southampton welcomes Dragan, Henrik, Rasmus, and the people within Sport Republic to our great club. We searched the world for good people with the ambition and resources to lead us into the next era and I am happy to confirm we have found them. We can’t wait to get started and be a part of the future of Sport Republic.”

Commenting on the agreement, the Lead Investor of Sport Republic, Dragan Šolak, said, “My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and Sport Republic has been founded to combine this expertise and deliver something unique to the market. Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organization. It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football, and a dedicated fan base. We are delighted to be able to complete this acquisition as a first step towards execution of our investment strategy. Southampton will be a cornerstone of the organization we plan to build.”

Added the Chairman of Sport Republic, Henrik Kraft, “We will be an active and engaged owner, but we will not be starting any revolutions. We were attracted to Southampton because it is already a well-run club that follows a clearly defined strategy. Southampton’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Martin Semmens will continue to run the day-to-day operations of the club, and Sport Republic will be working closely with him and his team to help the club grow. Whilst Southampton is Sport Republic’s first acquisition, we expect more investments to follow over the coming years. Our ambition is to build a portfolio of high-influence stakes in football clubs and other sporting assets across the world. At the same time, we will also invest in early-stage sports technology companies and use our portfolio to accelerate the development of these companies. The acquisition of Southampton is a great first step and we are very excited about the journey ahead.”

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