The bid to take over Yeovil Town led by former Cardiff City director Julian Jenkins is off, the group has confirmed.
In a series of tweets posted on Sunday by Damien Singh, Chief Financial Officer of a online graphic design tool Canva, confirmed the bid by Simul Sports Group was off saying it had made “a series of offers” to chairman Scott Priestnall.
The Australia-based businessman is not a name which has been publicly linked to the group led by Jenkins and involving former Glovers’ midfielder Marc Bircham and finance specialist Darren DeLandro.
The statement read: “Regrettably after a protracted period of due diligence during which we have expended significant time, energy and financial resources, we have had to cease our efforts to secure ownership of Yeovil Town Football Club.
”We unfortunately could not conclude our negotiations despite a series of recent offers with funds placed on our solicitors account.
”Yeovil Town is a special club, I’ve visited Huish Park on a number of occasions and have family in the area. We had big plans to restore the glory days and footballing pride to the community. But disappointingly that has come to an end for us today.
”Myself and the other members of the group, Darren DeLandro and Marc Bircham, acknowledge that this is a difficult period for the fans and we want to wish the Glovers all the best for the future. No further comment will be made at this time.”
The statement from Singh that the group had made offers to buy the club backed by funds contradicts statements made by Priestnall a month ago. Speaking to a group of fans at Huish Park, he said had accepted a deal but claimed the group never put money on the table, read more – here.
The news comes after months of speculation around the potential deal to buy the club from Priestnall which began last June when he confirmed he had been approached by a group to buy the club. In December, Jenkins went public and confirmed his group was in talks which was followed in January by a statement saying said the deal was in the “final stages of due diligence.”
Who is Damien Singh?
Julian Jenkins’ name is the one which most Yeovil Town fans will think of when it comes to Simul Sports, the group which has been seeking to buy the club.
However, it was a name not previously connected to the group, Damien Singh, who made the announcement that the bid is over.
Singh is Chief Executive Officer of Canva, an online graphic design tool which is the product of one of the world’s fastest-growing technology companies, valued at Australian $40 billion.
A chartered accountant whose career began working in Bristol where he spent six years at Smith and Williamson before moving to Australia in 2011 where he worked for a number of firms, including Grant Thornton and PKF in Sydney, before joining Canva in 2016.
If you needed an idea as to his personal wealth, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, in February he bought a terraced house in Sydney’s exclusive Paddington district for A$12m.
As for his connection with Yeovil Town and football – well, his statement makes it clear he has family living in the Yeovil area and has visited Huish Park on occasion.
Couple that with the fact he appears to have been based in Bristol at the start of his accountancy career and you at least get a connection with the Westcountry.
The news that the Jenkins-led takeover comes just a week after it was confirmed that Priestnall had agreed a deal to sell the club’s Huish Park stadium and land surrounding it to South Somerset District Council for £2.8m.
On Friday, supporter and retired businessman Stuart Robins was appointed to the club’s board of directors after appearing to have bought in to the club as a shareholder.
The never-ending saga – a timeline of takeover talks
- June 28, 2021: Chairman Scott Priestnall announces he has “been approached by a group to buy the club” – see more here.
- July 30, 2021: In a statement alongside manager Darren Sarll, Priestnall said he was continuing to “talk to interested parties, including development partners” – see more here.
- September 6, 2021 – The Glovers’ Trust says it believes two groups are in advanced negotiations to buy the club – see more here.
- October 12, 2021 – The Supporters’ Alliance Group issues a statement calling on Priestnall to invest or sell – see more here.
- October 13, 2021 – A new filing on Companies House shows Yeovil & Athletic Football Club has taken on the club’s £800,000 loan to Sport England – see more here.
- October 13, 2021 – The Gloverscast echoes calls for clarity as rumours grow of consortiums led by Director Glenn Collis and former Cardiff City commercial director Julian Jenkins – see more here.
- November 22, 2021 – The Glovers’ Trust calls on Collis to talk with them about his offer for the club – see more here.
- December 3, 2021 – Manager Darren Sarll says he would love to remain at the club adding that “until the hierarchy is set in stone, nothing is set in stone” – see more here.
- December 5, 2021 (a.m.) – The Glovers’ Trust issues a second statement calling for all parties involved in takeover talks to clarify the situation – see more here.
- December 6, 2021 (p.m.) – Scott Priestnall issues a statement give groups looking to buy the club seven days to complete a deal – see more here.
- January 18: Julian Jenkins said Simul Sports was “engaged in the final stage of due diligence” – see more here.
- March 1 – Finance expert Greg Baker was revealed as being part of the group – see more here.
- April 22 – Director Glenn Collis, who was thought to have been interested in bidding for the club alongside Simul, quit the club saying he had “questions on the club’s direction” – see more here.
- April 23 – Priestnall claimed that he had accepted an offer, understood to be from Simul, but claimed: “Nobody has put any money on the table to buy the football club.” – see more here.
- May 20 – South Somerset District Council confirms it had completed a £2.8m deal to buy Huish Park and land surrounding it – see more here.
- May 29 – A series of tweets by Damien Singh, CFO of tech start-up Canva, confirmed the bid by Simul was over – see more here.
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