EFL approves Birmingham investment, Charlton agrees takeover deal

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The English Football League (EFL) has approved Tom Wagner’s acquisition of a 45-per-cent stake in Championship club Birmingham City, while League One team Charlton Athletic has agreed a takeover deal with SE7 Partners.

Wagner, co-founder of New York-based Knighthead Capital Management, last month agreed to acquire a stake in Birmingham and assume ownership of the club’s home stadium, St. Andrew’s.

Birmingham Sports Holdings will transfer 24% of its shares in the club to Shelby Companies Limited, an affiliate of Knighthead. Oriental Rainbow Investments Limited and Achiever Global Group Limited are also transferring 21.64% of their shares in the club and 100% of the shares in Birmingham City Stadium Limited to Shelby Companies Limited.

As a result, Shelby Companies Limited will own 45.65% of Birmingham City PLC and all of St. Andrew’s. The deal has now been approved by the EFL and is awaiting approval in accordance with the rules of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Wagner has highlighted improvements to St. Andrew’s as a key priority. The stadium has fallen into disrepair in recent years, with sections of the ground having been closed for the best part of two seasons due to structural issues.

In a statement to BirminghamLive, Knighthead said it will share more information about its long-term plans for the club once approvals are received from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Charlton has confirmed that a deal has been agreed for SE7 Partners to purchase the club.

SE7 Partners has signed a special purchase agreement with Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard, and the two parties will now work with the EFL to meet its requirements before approval for the takeover is granted.

Charlie Methven, a former executive director at Sunderland, is a director of SE7 Partners. In February, Charlton had confirmed that takeover talks with a group led by Methven had ended, but an agreement has now been reached.

Charlton chief executive Peter Storrie said: “A deal has been agreed and a share purchase agreement has been signed by Thomas Sandgaard and SE7 Partners. We’ll now work with SE7 Partners and the EFL to meet the league requirements, which is a process that can take some time. In the meantime, the day-to-day running of the club will not be impacted.”

The takeover has been agreed with the future of Charlton’s home stadium, The Valley, still up in the air.

In February, it was reported that Sandgaard had backed out of a £17m (€19.8m/$21.1m) deal to acquire the stadium.

Football Insider, citing sources, said the Danish businessman reneged on a three-year deal to buy The Valley from Charlton’s former owner, Roland Duchâtelet, in mid to late January, shortly before it was widely reported that a proposed club takeover was in the works.

Sandgaard acquired Charlton in September 2020, but Belgian businessman Duchâtelet has retained control of The Valley since his ownership of the Southeast London club commenced in January 2014.