billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s purchase of a 27 percent stake in West Ham potentially marks the beginning of the end of the GSB era at the club.
Kretinsky, co-owner and president of Sparta Prague in his home country and has been dubbed the ‘Czech Sphinx’ due to his enigmatic approach to business, he has claimed a larger stake in West Ham than the co-owner David gold in a deal that values the club at up to £ 700 million and has seen David sullivanReduction of shareholding. However, Sullivan remains the majority shareholder.
Discussions about the deal, which was confirmed Wednesday, have been bubbling in the background for nine months.
West Ham sources insist the investment is paying off debt rather than speeding up spending in January, though fans won’t stop speculating whether they now have the power to spend a lot in the next window as the Hammers are targeting the qualification for the Champions League with David Moyes.
It’s unclear how much Kretinsky will be able to say on that, or what his first moves will be in West Ham.
The deal has raised the possibility of a full takeover by Kretinsky in the future.
However, the 46-year-old is an intensely reserved person. Sources familiar with Kretinsky’s operation say that it is “almost impossible to enter his personal zone.”
But who is the man who has invested over £ 180 million in West Ham?
Forbes values Kretinsky’s wealth at £ 2.96 billion. His partner, Anna Kellernova, is the daughter of Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, who died in a helicopter crash earlier this year and at the time of his death was the richest man in the country with personal wealth estimated at $ 17.5 billion. .
Kretinsky began his professional life as a lawyer, but has built a titanic empire that covers gas lines, coal-fired power plants, swaths of European media, as well as Sainsbury’s and Royal Mail in the UK. Kretinsky is said to be “obsessed” with British history.
His stake in Royal Mail, bought when share prices were low during the early days of the pandemic last year, is nearly 20 percent, while his stake in Sainsbury’s increased from three percent to nearly 10 in April this year, which generated rumors. from a takeover of Britain’s second-largest supermarket.
He owns a large number of titles in France, including sole ownership of the French edition of Elle, a 10 percent stake in the daily Le Monde and a five percent stake in the TF1 television channel.
Concerns about Kretinsky’s editorial influence have been raised on sites like Info.cz in Eastern Europe, though he denies those claims and says he is a “passionate defender of press freedom.”
Kretinsky’s energy company EPH has assets worth around £ 14bn and employs 25,000 people in 70 companies across Europe.
The fact that football is not a completely new world for the Czech will be a relief to fans: he has been president of Sparta Prague since 2004.
There will be a lot of excitement and questions from West Ham fans about what lies ahead. .