Gamechanger20 Completes Ipswich Town Takeover
Gamechanger 20 Ltd has completed the majority takeover of Ipswich Town with former owner Marcus Evans retaining a 5% stake in the club.
The Board of Gamechanger 20 Ltd will comprise of Mike O’Leary, who will also be Chairman of the club, Ed Schwartz, Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer. They will be joined by a UK based CEO, an appointment that it is hoped will be made shortly.
Part of the ownership group, known as The Three Lions, led by Brett Johnson also has involvement in American soccer team Phoenix Rising FC, which plays in the USL Championship Division.
Mike O’Leary, formerly CEO at West Bromwich Albion, will oversee and manage the business of the club. In his first interview as the new chairman with the club’s official iFollow channel, he said: “Ipswich Town has a fantastic heritage. It’s a fabulous club and I can remember from my early youth the success they had.
“They had two of the greatest managers football has seen [Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson] and it’s crazy that a club of this size is in League One.
“We are here to help the club climb the football pyramid. Promotion to the Championship as soon as possible is the immediate aim. It’s possible this season but if it takes another year or so, so be it.
“Then if you are in the Championship, you take stock and see what is needed to give you a chance to get into the Premier League and they are the goals that we will set.
“A club of this stature – if not in the Premier League – should be knocking on the door of the Premier League pretty quickly and clearly that is what we aim to achieve.”
Marcus Evans, said of the sale: “I have always said that, whilst not actively looking to sell, I would seriously consider an offer made to me by a credible party if it would invest in Ipswich Town in a way that provides secure long-term funding to help take our club forwards.
“Following several months of detailed due diligence by both parties, to ensure this will be a ‘marriage made in heaven’, an agreement approved by the EFL was signed today and I am satisfied that the above conditions have been met.”
A portion of the club’s historic debt has been written off, leaving the club with a much smaller debt burden and with nearly all club debt owed to the new owners.”
Evans added: “I had always wanted to take the club myself to the Premier League and sadly, for too short a window, at one time this had seemed possible. However, as important to me as my ambition for the club was, if it didn’t work out I wanted to leave the club in not only a more secure financial position than the perilous state in which I found it, but with ownership that provides triple A financial backing alongside a community ethos.”
US investment fund ORG, which manage funds on behalf of a large US pension fund will be the new ultimate beneficial owner of the club and will own 90% of Gamechanger 20 Ltd. The ORG representative will be Ed Schwartz.
In addition to the pension fund investment in Gamechanger 20 LTD (GC20) through ORG, there is additional investment in GC20 through the Three Lions fund managed by Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer, who will jointly own 5% of GC20.