Al Fahim: Why I sold Portsmouth FC

Sulaiman Al Fahim explains the reasons behind his sale of 90% of his shares.
Al Fahim: Why I sold Portsmouth FC
By Sulaiman Al Fahim
Tue 06 Oct 2009 09:06 AM

So it has been a busy summer! Last night I completed the sale of 90 percent of my shares in Portsmouth FC to a consortium led by the Saudi-based Al Faraj brothers. Pompey fans will be probably be right ask why, and why so soon after I took over the club.

Firstly let me take this opportunity to thanks everyone at the club – both the fans and the boardroom – for their continued support over the past few months. I know it has been a roller coaster ride, and I am particularly grateful to Peter Storrie for his never ending dedication to the club.

When I first became interested in taking over the club earlier this year, I had intended to finance the purchase and on-going investment myself.

As the due diligence and takeover process unfolded, it became clear the level of debt – and the urgency of repayments – was higher than anyone had imagined. It has always been my intention to fully finance the purchase by mid-October.

However, it became clear last week that there was a danger this would be too late, given the pressing financial commitments in the past few days. It was for this reason that I decided to relinquish the majority of the shares to an outside investor who was prepared to immediately bring new funding to the club.

I should make clear that I have not made any financial gain from this. In fact, I insisted that any purchase price for my shareholding should instead be in the form of immediate and new investment to the club. To say I sold my 90% shares for one pound would actually be an exaggeration. It was for zero.

I believe that I have acted in the best interests of the club. I also believe that had I not sought to take over the club, and made the 5m pounds of investments I already have, Portsmouth FC would now be in administration.

Ironically, from what was a very difficult and precarious position just hours ago, the club now has a solid and bright future.

The investments I have already made will remain in the club and so will my 10% shareholding. I am proud to have this stake in what I believe is a great club.

A second irony is that the 50m pounds of financing I had arranged is also now available. Should the club at some stage in the future require more investment, I will be a willing shareholder and participant.

Yes, the club has lost 7 out of 8 games, but like our financial fortunes, I hope and believe our luck on the pitch will also now change for the better. I shall be at the match against Spurs on October 17 to cheer on the team – as a fan, an investor and a shareholder. Play up Pompey!

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