Current Chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus will meet with the Supporters Collective Group on Thursday evening for the first time since he arrived at the club, and those in attendance are expected to quiz him on a range of topics surrounding the running of the club - chiefly, to ask more about his own desire to buy out his other shareholders and become the sole owner of Sunderland AFC - something that the majority of supporters have been asking for now for quite some time.
And earlier today, an interview from Stewart Donald with BBC Radio Solent came to light, in which he expressed, once again, his desire to not only sell up, but also return back to his former club Eastleigh once he’s moved on.
This led to questions from fans, once again, around what is actually going on, and as such, we reached out to them via email to ask a very simple question: what is actually going on, and how much do you want for your shareholdings in the club?
This afternoon, Charlie Methven replied to our email, stating:
As you know, this time last year Stewart sold 41% of the club to the Louis-Dreyfus family. The details of that sale are confidential but it’s fair to say that Stewart was always hoping to find someone to purchase the entire club. Nevertheless, he agreed to the deal with Kyril because he felt that he would be a better chairman for the club going forward than some of the other candidates.
Both Stewart and I were fully aware of the desire from a number of Sunderland fans for us to have nothing to do with the running of the club. Therefore, we elected not to take up the three board seats to which we are entitled and kept away from the SoL and AoL, whilst still making our pro rata financial contributions. It has now become clear, though, that there is a group of fans that views even our continued presence on the shareholding register as an impediment to the club’s progress.
To help solve that problem, earlier this week Stewart placed our combined 39% shareholding of the club with a prominent broker for sale at £11.7 million (equal to a club valuation of £30 million).
That is a lower valuation than this time last year, despite more than £8 million of investment over the last 12 months on infrastructure, players and Covid-related payments. I think that Stewart is now on the record as saying that he wants to go back to Eastleigh, and in general I think that all parties recognise that it’s time to close this chapter swiftly and reasonably.
I read in media reports that Steve Davison has stated that there is a desire to buy those shares from existing shareholders. Obviously, if that is the case then the situation would be resolved very quickly, as there would be no need for due diligence, new shareholder agreements and EFL approvals. However, if existing shareholders do not in fact wish to buy the shares – as is 100% their prerogative - then a bit more patience may be required.