As many of you were aware I was present at the Supporters Trust meeting on Thursday 14th April 2016 at the Liberty. For those of who didn’t follow my live tweeting here are some of the revelations from that meeting.
Terms of sale were signed in December by Huw Jenkins on behalf of all selling shareholders who are everyone bar the Supporters Trust. Two of the shareholders who weren’t aware of this are not happy with this.
Trust weren’t told because Huw Jenkins and Leigh Dineen thought they wouldn’t sell and that the trust would leak it to the press.
Trust were very disappointed by this in particular Huw Cooze who travels with Jenkins to away games and he failed to mention anything to him.
Important to reiterate the money being mentioned in the press is for sale of shares and not investment. Trust have seen no evidence of where money will come from to fund stadium expansion.
Trust haven’t taken counsel yet as there’s no offers for their shares but in brief talks on Saturday it is believed that new potential shareholders want trust to retain their shares.
There are approximately 950,000 shares in the club and ultimately if shareholders want to sell the trust can’t stop them.
If deal goes ahead the trust will look to get protection against dilution of shares into new shareholder agreement.
Before taking a stance on potential new owners the trust want to see a plan for the future from them before deciding on their viewpoint.
In a recent poll on trust website the results showed members believe the most important thing for the trust at the moment is having money available to buy shares should the opportunity arise.
Huw Jenkins and Leigh Dineen were both invited to tonight’s forum but declined the invitation.
Huw Cooze believes Jason Levein may become the vice chairman if the deal goes ahead.
Shareholders agreement says if you own 5% of the club you are entitled to a seat on the board.
Levein revealed when speaking to the trust last week that he wants to buy shares in Swansea City because the Premier League is the best in the world and its becoming bigger and bigger in USA. He also revealed he liked the model of the trust owning 21%. He is in London currently and is expected to be at Newcastle this weekend. He was also pictured with Keith Harris formerly of Silver Sheild this week. ( For those who aren’t aware Silver Shield owned the Swans in the late 90’s)
Trust will carry out due diligence on potential new shareholders in due course.
Huw Cooze believes the new shareholders want deal sealed before end of the season.
At previous fans forum about Charles Noell and John Moores it was revealed board members dont want to sell shares to trust as it would devalue their shares. That stance hasnt changed and trust would still ideally like to get to 25%.
Trust were only aware of any of this on March 29th and will continue to communicate with fans through social media and website.
So here are some thoughts from me on the subject. I don’t think anyone would begrudge various board members making a profit on their investment. At the end of the day they put their money in all those years ago and with the exception of Martin Morgan they are not particularly wealthy people and could receive life changing sums of money for the sale of their shares.
However there are ways to go about this and I feel they have acted from a self interest point of view and the club seems to come second in their thinking. Not letting the trust know what is going on is very poor, as a 21% shareholder of the club it’s morally wrong to keep the trust in the dark. It would be brilliant if one or all of them would sell a certain percentage so the trust will get to 25% but realistically that’s not going to happen. Even if the trust found the money that would tempt any of the shareholders I don’t think they’d sell because the value of their other shares would then decrease because the trust would have more power.
The very least the current board should be doing is keeping the trust informed and giving them as much information as possible. The trust and the club (the one they’ve supported all their lives) will be here long after they’ve retired into the sunset. For as long as we are in this league there will always be people interested in buying us so they need to make sure they sell to the right people.
I’m on the fence at this stage as to whether Steve Kaplan and Jason Levein are the right people. Talk is cheap and as the trust have said I want to see a plan for the future before I decide if I think it would be good for Swansea City.
Regardless of whether the Americans do end up purchasing the shares though there’s no doubt we are set for big changes at this club very shortly and shares will be sold. My advice is if you want your voice to be heard join the supporters trust. As a 21% shareholder we have a genuine voice so don’t let it go to waste.