On the face of it, Daniel Levy’s comments about selling a stake, or potentially more, in Tottenham were platitudes, marking no significant change in ENIC’s long-held position, but the timing of his remarks nonetheless appears significant.
“If anyone wants to make serious proposals to the Tottenham board, we will consider it with our advisers,” Levy told Bloomberg overnight.
“And if we felt it was in the best interests of the club, we would be open to anything. We are just the guardians of the club. We want to take this club to another level… and if someone came in and we felt like they could take us to another level, we would look at them.
With 30,000 shareholders owning 13.5 per cent of the club, Levy and the board have a duty to consider any bid for Spurs, whether it be a minority stake or majority control. Although Levy’s comments do not significantly change ENIC’s position, it is the first time the 61-year-old has been so candid about his openness to investing, and the timing and reality of it. The interview deserves to be highlighted.
Levy very rarely speaks publicly – his last interview with a print publication was in 2019 – and, when he does, there is usually a reason.
The Spurs say Levy historically owes Bloomberg an interview and the timing is irrelevant, but it’s hard not to read the president’s candid comments as an open call to potential investors, especially given the platform on the largest commercial chain in the world. .
There is certainly reason to think that now may be the time for ENIC, who bought the club from Sir Alan Sugar for just £21 million in 2001, to consider cashing in.
Joe Lewis, Levy’s longtime business partner and previously believed to own Tottenham, was indicted in July for allegedly “orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme”, a US lawyer said. Lewis had “ceased to be a person with significant control” over Tottenham and ENIC in October last year, with his shareholding in both companies transferred to the beneficiaries of the Lewis Family Trust.
The 86-year-old has denied 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy, with his lawyer calling the indictment a “gross error of judgment.” But it remains to be seen what impact, if any, the affair might have on Levy, ENIC and ultimately the club. It was long assumed that Levy and ENIC would eventually agree to a full sale, returning their investment over two decades at a huge profit.
Selling a minority stake would, however, be potentially attractive to Levy in the medium term, allowing the chairman to maintain control while significantly increasing Spurs’ spending power and ability to compete with their wealthier and, in some cases, government-backed rivals. the state.
There is certainly reason to think that now may be the time for ENIC to consider cashing in on Tottenham.
As Levy says, this type of investment would potentially allow Spurs, a club that has long been managed under a strict set of financial parameters by ENIC, to go “to another level”, allowing them to compete for trophies and to consolidate Levy’s legacy.
Selling a minority stake would not be without complications, however, especially since it could be more difficult for ENIC to complete a full sale in the future.
Levy reportedly met Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain and chairman of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), in January for exploratory discussions about a minority stake, but QSI is not actively exploring Spurs at the moment, having evolved into other opportunities.
Spurs deny the meeting took place, but Levy has reportedly spoken to a number of potential investors in recent months and confirmed to Bloomberg that there had been offers from the Far East, Middle East and the United States.
Spurs claim Levy never put a price on the club, but Forbes has valued Spurs at £2.2 billion this year, making them the ninth most valuable club in the world.
Levy will likely want a lot more, given last year’s Chelsea takeover was worth £4.14 billion and there is currently a £6 billion asking price for Manchester United.