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24 January 2024 | Comment | Article by Gerallt Jones

Cardiff Rugby acquisition update


We have advised our long-standing client Cardiff Rugby on the acquisition of a majority shareholding in the company by Helford Capital. This is a historic moment for Cardiff Rugby, which completes months of negotiations and secures the club’s long-term future. A General Meeting took place Tuesday evening (23 January) and the relevant changes to the company’s share structure and constitution to allow the acquisition received a 99.99% majority approval.

Several other amendments to the articles were also approved by shareholders, including changing the company’s name to Cardiff Rugby Limited and the introduction of additional heritage rights.

Helford Capital, an investment group spearheaded by British businessmen Phil Kempe and Neal Griffith, will now become majority shareholders of the company, with Sir Gareth Edwards appointed the club’s new president. This brings a welcome boost to the club, players and supporters.

Gerallt Jones, partner and head of our corporate/commercial department, led the team advising Cardiff Rugby, supported by Sarah Jones-Howells.

Gerallt commented;

“This is really exciting news for Cardiff Rugby, its supporters and shareholders. As the official legal partner of the club, we are thrilled to have been at heart of this landmark transaction, which promises an optimistic future for regional rugby in our capital city. We have worked very closely with the team at Cardiff Rugby on this over several months, advising on the various aspects of the deal, liaising with the various parties involved and overseeing the whole transaction. We are delighted to have played a part in this transformational deal.”

Cardiff Rugby chief executive Richard Holland added;

“We are extremely grateful to Hugh James for the key role they have played in this deal. Their advice has been invaluable, and we have been particularly impressed with their project management skills in bringing the deal to fruition in such a seamless manner. Their expertise, diligence and professionalism have been exemplary throughout.”

The completion of this significant transaction brings an end to the formal relationship between Cardiff Rugby and the Thomas family, which spanned five decades. During that period Peter made an immeasurable contribution to his beloved club as a player, patron, benefactor, long-standing chairman and life president.

His contribution has been recognised at the Arms Park with the renaming of the South Stand as the Peter Thomas stand, while a portrait in the trophy room was commissioned and unveiled last month.

Cardiff Rugby chair Alun Jones, on the acquisition;

“Today (23rd) represents a huge moment in the history of Cardiff Rugby and gives us a bright, secure and exciting future. Following the sad passing of Peter Thomas, it was essential that we found new investment to safeguard the cub and drive us forward.

“We remain indebted to Peter, the Thomas family and the other shareholders who have moved on but we now have new owners who can help us fulfil Peter’s vision and ambitions for the club with renewed passion. Phil and Neal have a genuine appetite to restore Cardiff as a European force and have already begun stabilising the foundations. With Helford Capital at the helm, we want to deliver exceptional rugby experiences whether you are a player, a member of staff, a supporter or sponsor.”

“Helford have the resource and ambition to deliver that, and we will now begin an inclusive process with all key stakeholders to build a new long-term strategy.”

Cardiff Rugby Limited are looking forward to working closely with all stakeholders including the new leadership of the WRU to deliver a stable and successful future for the Blue and Blacks and whole professional game in Wales.

Read the complete press release from Cardiff Rugby.

Author bio

Gerallt is a partner and head of the corporate and commercial team. Since joining Hugh James in 2005, Gerallt has led the team to be a leading player within the corporate and commercial market, advising clients including the Welsh Government, Princes Gate Water and the Development Bank of Wales.

Gerallt also has particular expertise in the sport and food & drink sectors, leading Hugh James’s relationships with clients in these sectors including the Welsh Rugby Union and Braces Bakery.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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