Yeovil Town Football Club has been acquired by a local property investment firm, weeks after a different takeover bid appeared to have collapsed.
The Somerset club’s board has confirmed the sale to The Hellier Group, which is owned and run by entrepreneur Martin Hellier.
In a statement posted on social media, Mr Hellier said the firm had secured a majority shareholding in the two companies related to The Glovers – Yeovil Town & Athletic Club and Yeovil Town Holdings.
Mr Hellier, the club’s new chairman, said the deal also included buy-back rights to the club’s stadium Huish Park and surrounding ground, adding the new ownership would look to reunite it with the trading business “in the months to come”.
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South Somerset District Council (SSDC) had officially owned and leased back the 9,565 capacity ground to Yeovil Town after completing a £2.8m purchase last year, reportedly following financial difficulties at the club.
Mr Hellier told supporters the club had been “saved”, adding “the long winter of discord is over”.
To the fans, players, and staff of Yeovil Town Football Club, and to the wider Yeovil community:
Rejoice. The long winter of discord is over.
It is my greatest honour to announce that Hellier Group have secured the majority shareholding of Yeovil Town Football Club,… pic.twitter.com/dF0gKkJdVB
— Martin Hellier (@MartinHellier)
Mr Hellier said: “This has been a long and stressful process, I have been passionate about my beliefs and feelings because I deeply care about this club. This has not been a transaction for financial gain, it has involved a vast amount of time and effort to arrange, it is because I have the very best interests of this football club at heart.”
The businessman called for fans to allow the club’s new owners to “catch our breath, steady the ship, and bring stability”, adding they would embrace the “very arduous task” that lay ahead.
The club’s former chairman and owner Scott Priestnell said in a statement he was “confident” the transaction, financial details of which have not been disclosed, was one “in the best interests” of the club.
A statement on the sale of Yeovil Town Football Club. #YTFC
— Yeovil Town F.C. (@YTFC)
Mr Priestnell said: “It has been a difficult journey and I appreciate it has been hardest on you, the fans, most of all. We have not been able to share updates where we have wanted to, as you will appreciate negotiations take place under strict rules and disclosure arrangements. Given previous transactions have fallen through, I was particularly concerned about giving updates that may not materialise.”
The takeover deal comes after a bid from business group SU Glovers Limited, which previously announced it had “taken on the stewardship” of the club, appeared to fall through, after its leader Matthew Uggla – the son of Canadian finance entrepreneur Lance Uggla – said the transaction had not been concluded.
Yeovil Town were recently relegated from the National League to the sixth-tier of English football.
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