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Takeover Talk
Thursday, 25th Feb 2021 15:56

Takeover talk has dominated the TWTD Forum and Town social media over the last few days but with little in the way of firm information yet having come to light. TWTD examines the gossip and conjecture.

Rumours of a potential takeover of Town had been quietly circulating for around a week before a Whatsapp message outlining the scenario went viral over the weekend.

The gist of the rumoured situation is that a US-based consortium is keen to buy the Blues from owner Marcus Evans.

A price of £40 million has been mentioned, which seems high for a club in Town’s situation in League One, and we understand £30 million is a more realistic figure.

The rumours suggest the group’s overall plan is to buy the club, inject cash to get it into a better position before selling it on again at a profit.

Current Bristol City chief executive Mark Ashton is variously claimed to be leading or playing some part in facilitating the takeover. Ashton’s alleged involvement in any way is unconfirmed and he is continuing his job at Bristol City, commenting on new manager Nigel Pearson’s appointment earlier in the week.

Ashton has worked at a number of clubs over the years. Prior to joining the Robins in January 2016, he was at Oxford United for 18 months from 2014 and with Watford between 2004 and 2008, having previously been a director at West Brom for 14 years.

Bristol City’s 2019 pre-season tour of the US has also been the subject of speculation among Robins fans, Ashton and owner Steve Lansdown having met with owners of USL clubs among others while on the trip.

On Tuesday night it was spotted that Brett Johnson, who recently became the owner of USL League One side FC Tucson, having been a founder of USL Championship club Phoenix Rising where ex-Blues full-back Frank Yallop was formerly president of soccer/head coach, is following Town’s official Twitter account and later liked a tweet showing the Blues’ goal at Hull.

In addition to Town, the 51-year-old follows Bristol City, as well as a number of other British clubs, including Salford City, Newcastle United, Swansea City and QPR.

Johnson is the founder of Fortuitous Partners and is also the leading figure in a USL Championship franchise which is set to launch in Rhode Island in 2023 and recently joined the board of Danish side Helsingør.

In July last year a company called Gamechanger 20 Ltd was registered at Companies House with Johnson among the directors, along with Mike O’Leary, who was part of the takeover at Oxford in 2014 which was led by Ashton.

Also among the directors is Berke Bakay, principal owner, governor and co-chairman of Phoenix Rising, who made his money from Kona Grill, a restaurant chain.

Speaking in January, Los Angeles-based Johnson said his organisation was “fairly close to making an investment in England”.

TWTD understands that there is certainly something in the claims of current interest in the club although with the personnel involved unconfirmed, while Town are yet to comment on the rumours.

Evans, who took control at Town in 2007, has said in the past that if an acceptable offer came in, he would be prepared to sell.

A number of parties have shown interest over the years, several in the recent past, but up to now with none having made much progress.

Photo: Matchday Images

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dyersdream added 16:00 - Feb 25
Let’s hope it’s true bye bye Evans

Steve_M added 16:03 - Feb 25
I wonder if we'll move from "TWTD understands" to "Imminent" at any point....

RegencyBlue added 16:07 - Feb 25
Can but hope!

One thing is for sure, the club cannot survive much more of Evans and his inept ownership!!

abracaDOBRA_ added 16:08 - Feb 25
I thought it was 'definitely' a load of rubbish though? lol, if it is true, a lot of backtracking will be going on here I suspect

Blue_Blood_ added 16:08 - Feb 25
Still won't believe anything until I see him at Portman Road

CokeIsKey added 16:10 - Feb 25
You all laughed at me, but I have to say, you’re not laughing now.

midastouch added 16:11 - Feb 25

Ebantiass added 16:16 - Feb 25
I cant see Evans being missed ,but sometimes you should be carful of owners with many different clubs.

BlueForYou added 16:17 - Feb 25
"The rumours suggest the group’s overall plan is to buy the club, inject cash to get it into a better position before selling it on again at a profit."


SaigonTractor added 16:21 - Feb 25
I'm a bit concerned that anybody who would want to buy Ipswich right now would be more interested in turning us into Wigan, Bolton or Bury.

SickParrot added 16:21 - Feb 25
Please let it be true.

blues1 added 16:26 - Feb 25
Why do people think that for those who have said its rubbish, it would be embarrassing if it's True? Not at all. But it isnt true, us it? Theres absolutely no evidence to suggest theres any substance in it at all. And even if there was, would we really want some1 to buy the club,who purely has the intention of selling again in a couple of years time?

arc added 16:27 - Feb 25
And what happens to the debt? £100m of debt is a lot for Evans to eat, and I can't imagine a consortium not being able to find a club that isn't so saddled. You're not going to turn a quick profit if you've got that hanging around your neck.

leftie1972 added 16:31 - Feb 25
If true and it happens, I’m not sure what there wouldn’t be to like if we get a cash injection for upkeep of the ground, academy, staff and players. If it improves the club why not.

Blue_Blood_ added 16:32 - Feb 25
Nothing has happened yet CokelsKey

Rozeeboy74 added 16:43 - Feb 25
@BlueForYou - That was my concern too. Seems even more of a business deal than Evans effort was. But perhaps that is the modern way.

LWNR2013 added 16:48 - Feb 25
Want it or not only one person holds the cards.

I believe debt would be absorbed rather than ‘sold’.

Who knows?

NorthLondonBlue2 added 16:49 - Feb 25
I'm not sure a potential take-over by a consortium with no interest in the club other than milking it for profit should be welcomed.

I also think anyone trying to make money out of football really needs their head examined.

But if you were to try to make some money by buying Ipswich, the time to do it would be now.

GatesPerm added 16:52 - Feb 25
Takeover’s of clubs outside the Premier League have a pretty chequered success rate.

The words invest and sell for profit do not inspire confidence. The natural conclusion of failure and an inability to sell at a profit would probably be an even worse demise.


masetheace added 16:54 - Feb 25
Be careful what you wish for springs to mind - Mick Mc - Paul Hurst - Paul Lambert ! I know which one I prefer

HarleydavidsonBlue added 16:55 - Feb 25
Perhaps this is why there was a totally different game on Tuesday, all playing for a new owner/boss hoping to keep their jobs ?
Time will tell - C O Y B

BeattiesBackPocket added 16:57 - Feb 25
Those saying about the dodgy part of it is someone wanting to come in invest and make a profit on a sale let’s be honest the only way they’ll make a profit is by making us competitive again and possibly at the very least a club in lower reaches of the premier league. I for one would rather that that where we are now!

RegencyBlue added 17:00 - Feb 25
Evans plan was to invest and then sell for a profit. The problem was he didn’t bring in people who understand football and thought he could do it himself. He was wrong!

Who is to say that with the right people the plan wouldn’t work? As I’ve said above we cannot survive much more of Evans so what’s to lose!

SuperCoops added 17:02 - Feb 25
Awkward for people who remember Marcus Evans coming in to pump money in and improve us. That didn't work well. BCWYWF

johnwarksshorts added 17:08 - Feb 25
Due diligence of any takeover from Evan's must be thorough. I suspect this is just rumour and no real substance.

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