Club Brugges pull out of €229m IPO over weak share demand

Club Brugges

March 25 – Club Brugge’s IPO adventure has been short-lived. On Thursday, the Belgian champions announced the postponement of their initial public offering, citing adverse “market conditions”.

Last week, Brugge went public on a deal that could have valued the club at €229 million, with chairman and majority shareholder Bart Verhaeghe selling at least 30% of the Belgian Pro League outfit with shares priced between €17.5 and €22.5.  The club, however, were left red-faced when they announced the IPO is to be shelved for now because of weak demand.

“Club Brugge announces today that it has postponed its previously announced initial public offering on Euronext Brussels in light of market conditions,” said a statement. The club had planned to begin trading on Friday, but comment had been made that the move to go to the stock exchange was seen a way for the owners to cash in, without any benefit to Club Brugge.

The indefinite postponement will come as a major setback to the club, which has also been a driving force behind the creation of a BeNeLiga, a cross-border league with the Netherlands. Club Brugge recorded a turnover of €120 million for the 2019/20 season including a €49 million profit on player sales. The club are looking to replace their antiquated Jan Breydelstadion with a new stadium on the same site. In 2020, plans were announced for a €100 million, 40,000 seat venue, which Verhaeghe has described as going from a Lada to a Mercedes.

Last week, they filed a prospectus, highlighting risk factors including infectious disease outbreaks, failure to qualify for European competitions and success in the transfer market, with Brugge positioning themselves more and more as a feeder club for the bigger leagues, overtaking the youth academy of Anderlecht.

“This is a historic step for the entire Club Brugge community and the logical next phase in its development,” said Brugge chairman Bart Verhaeghe in a statement when announcing the IPO.  “Club Brugge’s rich history and sporting track record are the foundation of an iconic, internationally renowned sports brand, which draws on a community of more than a million loyal fans.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1618095058labto1618095058ofdlr1618095058owedi1618095058sni@o1618095058fni1618095058