Swiss billionaire Kyril Louis-Dreyfus completed his takeover of Sunderland last year

Sunderland owners including Kyril Louis-Dreyfus have been offered £42million to buy them out


EXCLUSIVE: Sunderland owners, including billionaire chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, are DIVIDED over a £42million bid to buy them out, after fans felt misled by the current ownership and as the Black Cats prepare for their League One play-off semi-final

  • Sunderland subject to £42m takeover bid from new consortium
  • The bid is led by William Storey who has previously tried to buy the club
  • The offer is to buy out all four members of the current ownership group

The Sunderland ownership group have been offered £42million to sell the club, Sportsmail can reveal.

A consortium led by William Storey, which failed in its pursuit of Ligue 1 in 2020, is offering to buy out the four owners and take 100% of the shares.

The Black Cats finished fifth in League One this season and prepare to face Sheffield on Wednesday in the play-off semi-final, starting with the home game at the Stadium of Light on Friday.

Swiss billionaire Kyril Louis-Dreyfus completed his takeover of Sunderland last year

Potential buyers are keen to force the show and if promotion is not secured at the Championship this month, they believe their hand will be strengthened.

Sunderland’s ownership group includes Kyril Louis-Dreyfus – son of French billionaire Robert Louis-Dreyfus – holding a 41% stake, Stewart Donald retains a 34% share while Juan Sartori holds 20% and Charlie Methven holds the 5% remaining.

Sources familiar with the offer insist there is interest in the offer among the club’s owners, however, chairman Louis-Dreyfus is not one of them and remains committed to Sunderland regardless of the league in which the team will play next season, according to a statement issued to Sportsmail by the Black Cats.

Former Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald still owns a 34 per cent stake in the club

Former Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald still owns a 34 per cent stake in the club

Two owners, Donald and Methven, have both publicly expressed their desire to sell given that they no longer have an “active” role in running the club.

Sunderland’s bid is backed by ORIGIN Sports Group, a London-based investment firm that has previous involvement in the PGA Tour and America’s Cup sailing.

One of the founders of ORIGIN was former Tottenham Hotspur manager and current chairman of Invictus Games, Sir Keith Mills.

Sportsmail understands that Mills is not financing the offer, with the investors, who would provide the capital, yet to be identified.

The backdrop to the offer is widespread anger from Sunderland’s fan base after it emerged that the majority of shares (59 per cent) in the club are still held by ‘Madrox’ members Sartori, Methven and Donald ‘, the old unpopular ownership structure. who bought the Black Cats from former president Ellis Short in 2018.

Louis-Dreyfus, 24, said he controlled the Ligue 1 club despite owning just 41% of it

Louis-Dreyfus, 24, said he controlled the Ligue 1 club despite owning just 41% of it

Charlie Methven owns a 5% share of Sunderland but has said he is ready to sell

Charlie Methven owns a 5% share of Sunderland but has said he is ready to sell

SUNDERLAND PROPERTY HISTORY

1986 – Bob Murray succeeds Sir Tom Cowie

Relegated to the third division for the first time in the club’s history in his first season. They rallied to reach the First Division in 1990 and added an appearance in the FA Cup final in 1992. Relegation in 2003 with a historically poor tally of 19 points saw their relationship with fans deteriorate.

2006 – Taken over by the Drumaville Consortium – led by Niall Quinn – in a deal worth £10m

This group of seven Irishmen and one Englishman successfully redeemed Murray. They bought 89.13% of the shares.

2008 – Ellis Short buys the club

Irish-American fund manager Ellis Short got involved by buying 30% of the shares in the Drumaville consortium. It was first presented to Quinn at the Ryder Cup in 2006.

2009 – Short buys the rest of the shares

After taking a “majority stake” a year earlier, Short made the decision to buy out the consortium and take full control of Sunderland. Short invested, particularly early on, but many mistakes cost them dearly in the transfer market and they never established themselves as a consistent side in the first half of the Premier League.

2018 – Stewart Donald leads a takeover

Short paid off Sunderland’s debt to leave them debt free as he sold the Black Cats to a consortium group led by Donald.

2020 – Kyril Louis-Dreyfus becomes “majority shareholder” of the club

Many supporters had assumed that Louis-Dreyfus had become the majority owner, since he was announced as the club’s “majority shareholder” on his arrival early last year.

They felt misled when details of the ownership structure emerged in February, and a ‘Madrox Out’ banner was pictured among Sunderland fans during a 3-0 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium this month -the.

In response to the latest furor, Donald and Methven have acknowledged they are ready to sell their Sunderland stakes.

A spokesman for Donald told Athletic in March: “He has made it clear that he is happy to sell the remainder of his shares.”

In his own statement that month, Methven added, “Like Stewart, I would be very happy to sell my shares.”

Juan Sartori was part of the Madrox group which took over Sunderland from Ellis Short in 2018

Juan Sartori was part of the Madrox group which took over Sunderland from Ellis Short in 2018

Meanwhile, Louis-Dreyfus tries to repair the damage. In March, the minutes of a meeting he had with supporters said he “apologized to supporters who felt misled and thought he may have been hurt assessed the sensitivity of the question”. It was never intended to mislead.

And a Sunderland spokesman has insisted to Sportsmail that Louis-Dreyfus ‘has no intention’ of selling his 41 per cent share ‘regardless of the club’s division status next season’.

“He has had no contact with any party wishing to buy the club,” the spokesperson added.

“The chairman is focused on supporting the team throughout their play-off campaign and he remains committed to his long-term ambition to bring lasting success to SAFC.”

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