Watford FC to sell 10% of the club to investors and fans

Have you ever wanted to own part of an elite football club? If yes, now may be your chance. Watford Football Club is initiating an equity sale, offering approximately 10% ownership to investors, including fans. This sale, facilitated by investment platforms Republic and Seedrs, enables investors to receive tokens and exclusive offers, with plans for future token trading. With a valuation of £175 million, the club aims to raise over £17.5 million at a share price of £12.44, with a minimum investment requirement of four shares through Seedrs or eight shares through Republic. The capital raised will fund initiatives to enhance the club’s performance, focusing on player recruitment, training, coaching, and brand development. Link to the offer >

Why are Watford doing this?

“We are always looking at ways that we can help grow Watford FC to deliver on our plans and are proud to be the first major English football club to offer true ownership shares to a wide range of investors, including fans, through digital equity,” said Watford FC Chairman and CEO Scott Duxbury.

By inviting investors, including fans, to purchase ownership stakes, Watford aims to secure the necessary funding to strengthen their squad, improve player recruitment, and invest in comprehensive training and coaching programs. This infusion of capital not only addresses immediate needs but also positions the club for long-term sustainability and success.

In the scrutinized world of football finance, where adherence to FFP regulations is closely monitored, it’s crucial for clubs like Watford to explore innovative avenues for raising funds. This equity sale not only provides a platform for fan engagement but also demonstrates the club’s commitment to responsible financial management while striving for on-field success.

Watford used to be a consistent presence in the Premier League
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

How have Watford performed recently?

Watford Football Club has been a consistent presence in the Premier League (PL) for several seasons, demonstrating their competitiveness at the highest level of English football. However, in recent years, they’ve experienced a stint in the Championship. Despite this, Watford has remained a formidable force in the English football pyramid.

After spending the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons in the Premier League, Watford faced relegation to the Championship for the 2021-2022 season. They continued to compete fiercely in the Championship, striving for a return to the top flight.

In the 2023-2024 Championship campaign, Watford finished disappointingly in 15th in the division. Therefore the funds raised by the digital equity will enable the club to sign better players and hopefully secure a move back to the Premier League. The jump to the Premier League is enormous in terms of finances. The financial rewards of success are massive in English football.

Watford had a disappointing season.
(via 365Scores)

Have other clubs done similar things?

Yes, several football clubs have pursued similar initiatives to raise capital or engage with fans through public listings or equity sales. While Watford Football Club is pioneering the concept of digital equity in football, other clubs have explored various forms of public offerings or financial engagements with supporters. Here are a few examples:

  1. Manchester United (NYSE: MANU): One of the most notable examples is Manchester United, which became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2012. Through this initial public offering (IPO), the club offered shares to investors, providing them with partial ownership and the opportunity to invest in the club’s success.
  2. AS Roma (BIT: ASR): AS Roma, an Italian Serie A club, conducted an IPO on the Borsa Italiana (Italian Stock Exchange) in 2000. This move allowed the club to raise funds and engage with supporters through share ownership.
  3. Borussia Dortmund (XETRA: BVB): Borussia Dortmund, a Bundesliga club in Germany, is another example of a publicly traded football club. They are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (XETRA), offering fans and investors the opportunity to own shares and participate in the club’s financial journey.
  4. Juventus (BIT: JUVE): Juventus, one of Italy’s most successful football clubs, is listed on the Borsa Italiana. Their public listing provides investors with the chance to invest in the club’s performance and success.

By Nicky Helfgott / @NickyH3lfgott on Twitter (X)

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