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Busy Morning as Charles Russell Speechlys Completes Everton and Bolton Wanderers Deals

11 March 2016

The Sports Group at Charles Russell Speechlys (winners of Legal 500’s Sports Practice of the Year 2015) completed two high profile football club deals on Thursday 10th March, advising on the sale of Bolton Wanderers FC and the acquisition of 49.9% of Everton FC.

It marked the conclusion of a particularly busy period for the non-contentious side of the Sports Group with some team members, notably Senior Associate Tom Smitham, working on both deals. Keir Gordon led the team on the Bolton deal with Ian Lynam leading on the Everton transaction.

The Group acted on behalf of Eddie Davies, the former owner of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, to complete the £7.5m transfer of the Club to the Sports Shield consortium.

The Consortium, fronted by ex-Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth, and Inner Circle, owned by Ken Anderson, acquired a 94.5 per cent controlling share of Burnden Leisure.

Holdsworth will be installed as the new Bolton Wanderers chairman and Davies will become honorary president of the club.

Trevor Birch, Advisor to the Board at Bolton Wanderers, comments: “Having been involved in football for many years I understand how complex and emotive the business of football can be.

“Keir Gordon and the team at Charles Russell Speechlys understand this too. Through their expertise and long term commitment to working with the Club, Keir and his team have worked tirelessly to help the owner and the Club deliver a positive outcome in a very challenging period, and to secure the future of the Bolton Wanderers.”

Half an hour before the Bolton deal completed, the Sports Group had completed on the acquisition of a 49.9 per cent stake in Everton FC by Farhad Moshiri.

Ian Lynam, Joint Head of the Sports Group, commented: “The Everton deal is a great example of a new, more tailored, approach to investments in sport. The Buyer went beyond the traditional industry agnostic M&A approach in assembling a team of specialists to advise on his investment in the football club. The team also included the sports team at PricewaterhouseCoopers, who worked on financial and tax due diligence, and 21st Club, who were responsible for football analytics. The approach produced a great result.”

“The completion of the Bolton and Everton deals so close together is an excellent endorsement of our sector specific approach.”

The transactions are further examples of Charles Russell Speechlys’ Sports Group advising on the sports issues making the headlines on both the back and front pages. Another notable example of this is the firm’s appointment as solicitors to the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis, for which the Charles Russell Speechlys team is led by Jon Ellis, Joint Head of the Sports Group.

Charles Russell Speechlys has been at the forefront of providing legal advice to the sports sector for over 100 years and has acted in many of the leading cases that have helped to shape ‘sports law’. Other notable sports clients include The Football Association, Premiership Rugby, Welsh Rugby Union, British Horseracing Authority, Nike, Paddy Power Betfair plc, Chelsea FC, Mercedes GP, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Raheem Sterling.

For more information, please contact Jasmine Dillon, Head of Marketing Communications on +44(0)20 7203 5343.