Squire Patton Boggs has advised NFFC Group Holdings Limited and Fawaz Al-Hasawi on the sale of Nottingham Forest Football Club Limited to NF Football Investments Limited, a company headed by Evangelos Marinakis, the Greek shipowner, businessman and owner of Greek champions Olympiacos F., and Sokratis Kominakis, a Greek businessman and investor.
One of the most prestigious and historical clubs in England, Nottingham Forest, known simply as “Forest”, was established in 1865 and was a founder member of the Football Alliance. Forest won the FA Cup in 1898 and 1959, but their most successful period was under the management of Brian Clough between 1975 and 1993, winning the League in 1978 and back-to-back European Cups in the two years after. Currently in the Championship, the club has been owned by Mr. Al-Hasawi since 2012.
The team advising Mr. Al-Hasawi was led by London Corporate partner and football M&A expert Mark Yeo, assisted by Corporate associate James Ferrow, along with Eleni Sideris and Olivia Lawrence. The Corporate team was supported by Financial Services partner Matt Ingram on banking matters and Labour & Employment partner Charles Frost on employment.
The Forest sale is the third major football M&A transaction that Squire Patton Boggs has acted on within the last 12 months, following the sales of Aston Villa FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC in 2016.
Commenting on the Forest sale, partner Mark Yeo said: “We are delighted to have advised on this transaction. A deal involving a high-profile club in English football is always a special mandate and we are pleased to have been able to complete the sale of Forest. We wish the club every success under its new ownership and executive management team.”
Partner Stephen Sampson, head of the firm’s Sports & Entertainment Group, added: “Once again, the corporate and regulatory specialists in our international sports group have done an outstanding job on this transaction. There are a limited number of prestige football clubs in England and, through the work of Mark Yeo, David Hull, James McKay, James Ferrow and others, our firm plays a leading role in the M&A market for these clubs, whether representing club owners or buyers.”