Friday, January 15, 2021
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Saracens in talks about selling a major stake to US investment firm

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Saracens in talks about selling a major stake to US investment firm who have loaned tens of millions of pounds to football clubs Sunderland, Southampton, Burnley and Derby

  • Saracens have been up for sale since owner Nigel Wray stepped away last year
  • His daughter Lucy and chairman Neil Golding have been seeking new investment
  • MSD Capital have proposed buying a stake in the club rather than lending money

Saracens are in talks about selling a significant share in the club to American investment firm MSD Capital as they look to move on from the embarrassment of their salary cap breaches.

English rugby’s dominant force of the last decade have been up for sale since owner Nigel Wray stepped away from the 2019 Premiership and European champions 12 months ago in the wake of the salary cap scandal uncovered by Sportsmail. That led to a record £5.3million fine from Premiership Rugby Limited and relegation to the Championship.

Wray’s family have remained involved, with his daughter Lucy serving as chief executive officer and leading the search for fresh investment alongside chairman Neil Golding. 

MSD Capital have proposed buying a stake in Saracens rather than lending money to the club

MSD Capital have proposed buying a stake in Saracens rather than lending money to the club

MSD are understood to have proposed buying a stake in the club rather than lending money, which has been their preferred model in football and seen them lend tens of millions of pounds to Southampton, Burnley, Derby and Sunderland over the last two years.

While the size of the proposed shareholding is unclear, Wray is believed to be willing to sell up to 50 per cent of the club.

MSD’s interest is based on their conviction that Saracens are well placed to lead rugby’s expansion in the United States.

A separate financial services company based in New York — StoneX Group — was last week announced as the club’s new main sponsor and naming rights partner in a four-year deal, while last year Saracens and England star Maro Itoje became the second rugby player to sign up with American entertainment agency Roc Nation.

Saracens have been up for sale since owner Nigel Wray stepped away 12 months ago

Saracens have been up for sale since owner Nigel Wray stepped away 12 months ago

Saracens have previously shown a willingness to embrace the American market, which MSD believe is underexploited. The club won the first Premiership match to be staged outside England when they beat London Irish in New York in 2016 and two years later played a league game against Newcastle Falcons in Philadelphia.

Saracens’ brand value appears to have survived the impact of the salary cap scandal, but the pandemic has left them without any competitive matches for six months.

The club’s new sponsorship agreement is an increase on their previous deal with Allianz, who cancelled their contract over the salary cap breaches.

Allianz Park will be renamed the StoneX Stadium and the company’s UK subsidiary City Index will be on the players’ shirts.

Saracens declined to comment.



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