DAFC make key strategic move with German based investment group
Dunfermline Athletic Football Club is today delighted to announce a very exciting move in terms of the future strategic development of our club.
DAFC Fussball GmbH, have made a significant investment into our club and now hold 30% of the enlarged share capital of DAFC and have an option to acquire a further 45.1%, by no later than 31 May 2022. Assuming they exercise that option, DAFC Fussball GmbH will also hold an option to purchase the company which owns East End Park by May 2024.
The individuals behind DAFC Fussball GmbH are a very highly respected group of investors based in Hamburg, Germany. The key investors are Thomas Meggle, Damir Keretic, Nick Teller and Dr. Albrecht Gundermann. Three of them, will join the DAFC Board of Directors with immediate effect.
Attracting a capable group of investors with significant business, marketing and football knowledge, will be hugely beneficial to our club moving forward. At a time when German football is once again leading the way in Europe, in terms of club football, having the input and expertise of such a highly respected individual in German football as Thomas Meggle, is a real coup for Dunfermline Athletic.
DAFC Fussball GmbH’s Damir Keretic commented “We have spent over two years looking at potential clubs all over Europe, and a key factor was that the club´s “DNA”, values and “way of doing things” had to be compatible with our own approach. At DAFC we found a club with a long tradition and heritage, run by a professional Board of Directors located in a community firmly standing behind its local club. Quite simply, DAFC fitted our aims much better than any other club to whom we had spoken. We are now delighted to be working with DAFC, as we look to integrate our combined strategy of future and sustainable success for the club.
Our original investment, to acquire 75.1% of the DAFC share capital, was scheduled to complete in late March, but the unprecedented situation created by the Coronavirus pandemic inevitably put things on hold which, at the time, was extremely frustrating for both parties. We were further impressed by how the Club successfully navigated itself through this period, and it demonstrated to us both the robust management and controls in place and also the strength of community and passion that surrounds DAFC as a football club.
It is important for us to be closely and directly involved in the Club – attending Board meetings and matches, meeting supporters, sponsors and such like, so the various Covid-19 restrictions on travel meant that we felt it better to delay our full investment until we could avoid being absentee owners. Nevertheless, we were very keen to make a tangible commitment to completing the deal and wanted to do something in the interim which would support the Club financially. For those reasons, our investment has been split into the two elements: an immediate cash investment, in return for a 30% equity stake in the Club; and the option to increase that stake.”
DAFC Chairman, Ross McArthur stated “the involvement of DAFC Fussball GmbH as a shareholder, should now be transformative for the Club. We believe that this change to our ownership structure will be an enormous step forward in the achievement of our goals, but crucially, our culture and community ethos will not be diluted. It was abundantly clear during our discussions, that DAFC Fussball GmbH share the same beliefs, morals and ethics as ourselves. The DAFC Board realised that not only did we require further capital but that we also would benefit from fresh ideas, knowledge, relationships and innovation to help us achieve our goals. The investors have a deep and sound knowledge of football and of commercial marketing, which means they bring very much more than fresh investment capital.
The DAFC Board was committed to working only with investors: whose ideals were compatible with those of a club which is rooted in its community; who valued integrity; and who saw themselves as a catalyst for a range of positive engagements with the people of West Fife and beyond. The Board believes that the good people behind DAFC Fussball GmbH have all of these qualities.
The investors will give us access to a scouting network in Germany and wider Europe, which will allow us to differentiate ourselves from other similar sized clubs in Scotland. As football people, they know that every football club has its ups and downs and that you need to take a patient, long-term approach to succeed. They understand the benefits of growing your own talent and selling on at the right time. Their investment will enable us to start planning properly our own Youth Academy structure and securing appropriate training facilities, things we have long wanted to do but which have always been out of our reach. In short, our expectation is that this cash investment will give Dunfermline Athletic the competitive advantage we have long sought and will allow us to take steps to achieve our long term ambitions for the Club, rather than managing the Club on a season-by-season basis.
It says much for the people involved in DAFC Fussball GmbH that they remain enthusiastic and committed to becoming our investors at this time, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. Very few football clubs, at any level, will be able to attract a substantial equity investment in the current economic climate, so this is a real feather in the cap for DAFC. DAFC Fussball GmbH will not be able to immediately implement all of their interesting ideas regarding the positioning of DAFC and adding valuable assistance on the football side, until many of the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. However, DAFC Fussball GmbH was keen to give DAFC financial maneuverability during these “complicated times” and that is hugely appreciated.”
A full Q&A with more information will be provided by Chairman, Ross McArthur, at 3.30pm today on our official website.
Finally, both parties would like to put on record our sincere thanks to our respective legal teams at Thorntons and BTO, for their assistance, professionalism and pragmatism throughout our discussions.