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25 Oct 2006

Hedge Funds to Finance Football Club

Sam Hammam quit his post as Cardiff chairman and has been replaced by Peter Ridsdale as the club prepares for a huge new investment strategy. The identities of the new investors are still unknown, but in a statement Hamman revealed that they are looking to hedge funds to manage Cardiff’s £24m debt in exchange for equity in the club.

The statement read: “It has been clear for some time that if Cardiff City Football Club were to fulfil their ambitions to build their new 30,000-seater stadium…there was a requirement to bring new funding into the club… an agreement has now been reached for a debt for equity swap with institutional hedge funds, who have acknowledged the unique huge potential that exists with Cardiff City Football Club.”

Sam Hammam says they are “two or three” London-based financial institutions who specialise in hedge funds. The deal is being brokered by former Football League chairman Keith Harris, now head of investment bank Seymour Pierce. Harris is also advising the Icelandic businessman hoping to buy West Ham United.

Ridsdale said: “We will end up within 12 months being debt-free business and having a new stadium….Sam has taken his shareholding down from 82.5% to not a lot and people who are putting the money in wanted to see a change of management before their investment.” and that the new hedge funds will “become the majority shareholders.”

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