Football operator Powerleague agrees takeover

FIVE-a-side football operator Powerleague has agreed a £42.5m takeover offer from its biggest shareholder.

FIVE-a-side football operator Powerleague has agreed a £42.5m takeover offer from its biggest shareholder.

Its executive chairman Claude Littner - a former colleague of Sir Alan Sugar - stands to make £2.6m from the deal.

The ex-Amstrad and Tottenham Hotspur chief executive led a management buy-out of Powerleague from investment group 3i in 2003 and owns 6.1%.

The firm, which has 43 football centres, has recommended the offer from Patron Sports Leisure, a subsidiary of European investment firm Patron Capital which owns 29%.

Shares in the firm rose 15% on news of the deal, which has been on the cards since Patron said it was considering an offer for rest of the company in April.

Powerleague bought JJB’s Soccer Domes business for £17.4m in March last year, but now wants to pursue growth plans under private ownership due to the recession .

It said: “Patron Sports Leisure believes that Powerleague’s growth prospects are best served away from the constraints of the public market where it can access a wider range of funding options to finance its growth than are currently available.”

Mr Littner will resign on completion of the deal, but work as a consultant for six months. Current chief executive Sean Tracey, who owns 4% of the firm, will stay and exchange his stake for shares in Patron.

The latest results from the business showed pre-tax profits edging up 4% to £5.4m in the year to July 4. The firm has cut its debts by £2m to £36.4m but plans to open sites at Regents Park in Central London and Yardley in the Midlands.

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