Global legal practice Squire Sanders has advised on the purchase of Fulham Football Club, acting for the buyer Shahid Khan, CEO of Flex-N-Gate Group and owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the US National Football League (NFL).
The transaction, which has been approved by the Barclays Premier League, will see Shahid Khan assume 100 per cent ownership of the club, debt-free, as of today. Mr. Khan is president and owner of Illinois-based Flex-N-Gate Corporation, a global manufacturer of a wide range of interior and exterior plastics, lighting systems, structural components and exterior metal parts for the automotive sector, which is the 14th-largest industry supplier in North America. He has been the owner of NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars since December 2011.
The Squire Sanders team advising Mr. Khan was led by David Hull, corporate partner in the firm’s Global Corporate Practice and member of its distinguished Sports Law Group, assisted by senior corporate associates Chris Watkinson and Jono Prosser.
Mr. Hull is an M&A specialist well-known for his focus on sports law, advising on the corporate and commercial aspects of numerous major UK football M&A transactions.
Commenting on his purchase, Shahid Khan said: “Fulham is the perfect club at the perfect time for me. I want to be clear, I do not view myself so much as the owner of Fulham, but a custodian of the club on behalf of its fans. My priority is to ensure the club and Craven Cottage each have a viable and sustainable Premier League future that fans of present and future generations can be proud of. We will manage the club’s financial and operational affairs with prudence and care, with youth development and community programs as fundamentally important elements of Fulham’s future.”
David Hull added: “We are delighted to have supported Shahid Khan in this important purchase. Specialists across the firm came together to deliver a complex transaction in less than a month, from initial instruction to final approval by the Premier League. The deal itself illustrates just how attractive well-run and leading UK football clubs continue to be to committed international investors.”
The purchase of Fulham FC is the latest in a number of high-profile football M&A transactions for David and the Squire Sanders team. Recent work has included advising Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister of Thailand, on the recommended takeover of Manchester City, and also that club’s later sale to the Abu Dhabi royal family; representing Aston Villa plc on its recommended takeover by RAL, backed by Randy Lerner; advising UK Football Investments LLP and principal shareholder Milan Mandaric on the sale of Leicester City FC to Asia Football Investments Pte Limited, a Thailand-based consortium led by Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn; and advising Venkateshwara Hatcheries plc on the acquisition of Blackburn Rovers.