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Fan Letters: Clearing up something about the new incoming owners of Sunderland AFC...

RR reader Charlie Coldicott has some questions about John Phelan, Glen Fuhrman, Rob Platek and Michael Dell - the incoming owners of Sunderland AFC. Got something you’d like to talk about? Email us:!

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The proposed takeover could prove to be the springboard we need, but one thing is not clear and reports in the press have used varying styles to describe just who exactly is taking us over.

I have seen it reported that the takeover party is:

1. MSD Capital

2. MSD Partners

3. MSD Private Capital

4. It’s a private investment led by the three bosses of the MSD ”Group” using their own private money, with Michael Dell as a subsidiary partner (also presumably using his own private money), and not a corporate investment made by or on behalf of an official MSD company.

All three MSD companies are intrinsically linked and more or less form part of the same whole, but there are subtle differences in how they operate and in whose interests they operate. But I think it’s fair to assume that if the takeover is an official investment by an MSD company, we can expect they will invest MSD money to get us into a safe position in the Premier League, within perhaps five years, and then sell the club (or investment) for £500 million, and show a tidy profit to their shareholders. That is the norm for venture-capital. It always has a clear exit strategy, with a profit, usually within 5+ years.

If it’s option 4. the private individuals might also have the same scenario in mind - making a return on the investment in say five years, but they may hang on to the club for ten years, or longer, because it’s a private thing for them and they are under no pressure to show a return to shareholders or 3rd party investors within an acceptable (or defined) time-frame...

There are various permutations and as yet I have not seen any hard facts about the intention or commercial strategy behind the takeover party, nor the precise identity of the takeover party.

I think it’s important to establish who exactly the takeover party is.

Can you shed any light on this?

Charlie Coldicott

Ed’s Note [Gav]: The information we were given when the takeover news first leaked was that this is very much four business partners doing something off their own back. So, to use your own words, it’s basically option 4.

Some of the wording from various news sources have muddied the waters somewhat. When Sky Sports ran the story on their yellow news ticker they claimed that MSD Capital were in takeover talks with Sunderland, which just wasn’t the case. As you brilliantly outlined, there is a difference and it’s important that people understand. I think your assumption is very fair - this is likely because they have no shareholders to answer to when it comes to this particular investment.

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