Saracens set for stadium work after takeover agreed

Premiership rugby union club Saracens has announced a £32m (€37.5m/$43.6m) takeover by a consortium of investors, with the redevelopment of StoneX Stadium among the priorities outlined by the team’s new owners.

The consortium includes Dominic Silvester, chief executive of global insurance company Enstar Group; Neil Golding, the club’s chairman and a partner at Freshfields; Paul O’Shea, a director at Enstar; Francois Pienaar, a World Cup-winning captain and former Saracens player; Nick Leslau, chairman and chief executive of Prestbury Investment Holdings; and Marco V. Masotti, a partner at Paul Weiss and an owner of South Africa-based rugby team the Sharks.

Saracens said the investment will seek to maintain the club’s position “at the top of the men’s game”, with the funds to also be used for a range of other purposes, including completing the redevelopment of the West Stand at StoneX Stadium.

The new owners will also provide further investment in women’s sport and establish a new high-performance training centre. A new non-executive board will be formed by the consortium to enhance the existing board and will be chaired by Golding, with Lucy Wray to remain as chief executive.

The takeover comes as Saracens return to the top-tier Premiership this season. The club was hit with a 105-point deduction in 2020 for breaching salary cap regulations, condemning it to relegation to the second-tier Championship. Saracens secured promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

US financial services group StoneX acquired naming rights to the club’s stadium back in January in a deal that also granted the company brand exposure on the front of Saracens’ shirts.

Saracens had previously announced that its home ground would revert to its former name of Copthall Stadium after Allianz stepped aside as the venue’s sponsor. The stadium had been known as Allianz Park for over seven years but the German financial services company opted to end the deal early following the salary cap scandal.

Following the takeover, Golding said: “We move on from the recent challenges with hard lessons learned and with robust new governance procedures in place. We wish to thank the incredible fans and sponsors of Saracens for their continued support and we cannot wait to welcome the Saracens family back to the StoneX in the near future for our return to the Premiership. Dominic, Nick and Francois all have a long association with the club and we are delighted that they are committed to its future.”

Silvester added: “The consortium members are making a long-term commitment to Saracens, with the new funds used to maintain the club’s position at the top of the game for the future. We also have an exciting longer-term vision to make the club a global market leader both on and off the field and we are well placed to deliver on this with our wide-ranging international experience.”

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