Leeds United's recent Companies House activity explained after fresh San Francisco 49ers investment - YEP 11/11/21

Leeds United's recent Companies House activity is entirely in keeping with the club's fresh investment, says football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

By Joe Urquhart

49ers Enterprises, an investment arm of NFL giants the San Francisco 49ers, recently upped their stake in the Whites to 44 per cent.

The American franchise first invested in the Elland Road outfit in 2018 with an initial purchasing of 15 per cent, before upping their investment and control in January of this year to a further 37 per cent.

Paraag Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises, was announced as the club's vice-chairman and has now become involved in the day to day running of operations in LS11 over the last 11 months.

Chairman Andrea Radrizzani continues to maintain a majority shareholding of Leeds through Aser Ventures with 56 per cent ownership but has welcomed added investment following promotion to the Premier League.

This week, the statement of capital following the transfer of shares was confirmed on Companies House after the recent increased investment by 49ers Enterprises, which was officially announced last week via the club's website.

There were also a number of resolutions submitted in the aftermath: resolution of allotment of securities, resolution of removal of pre-emption rights, resolution of varying share rights or name, resolution of adoption of articles of association.

The further activity sparked questions from supporters about what it meant for the club overall. This, though, is entirely in keeping with the recent movement at board level in West Yorkshire and also occurred in early February, when the last investment was officially processed in paperwork form.

"It happens every time there is a big investment. There's nothing to be worried about at all," Price of Football podcast presenter Maguire explained to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"It's very common practice and I see a lot of clubs getting new investment and this is one of the things that happens in terms of tweaking the constitution, giving shareholders rights, changing some of the existing rights and also what happens if you want to sell.

"It's legal rather than finance. It's all to do with the rights of the shareholders and the ability they have to sell their shares.

“If you, or I, owned 50 per cent of a company and I was thinking of selling, under many constitutions if I received an offer for the shares I’d then have to say to my fellow investors that I’ve had an offer, but you have first refusal.

"Otherwise, you could end up in a partnership with someone you don't like, that is the standard approach. Sometimes those rules change when companies get bigger."

In a statement last week, Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear revealed he was “delighted to see Aser and 49ers Enterprises strengthen their partnership" following the recent sale of more shares to the club's American partners.

Radrizzani has openly discussed wanting to turn the Whites into a European heavyweight once again alongside his wish of owning a number of clubs across the world, much like City Football Group - the owners of current Premier League champions Manchester City,

"We had Paraag on the show [Price of Football] a few months ago. He seemed very bullish about the club's prospects overall," Maguire said of the continued increased investment from 49ers Enterprises.

"Now that they [the 49ers] are involved with the club on a day to day basis through board representation he must have fed that back to San Francisco.

"They clearly like what is happening at Leeds and therefore they want to increase the investment, as you would do for any company in which you have a positive view.

"If they weren't happy they would be selling and not buying more shares, so it can only be a positive thing."

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