Watford launch digital share offering looking to raise £17.5m for 10% of club

June 5 – English Championship club Watford is looking to raise £17.5million via a digital share offering with part of the funding to be used to strengthen the playing squad.

Owned by Italian Gino Pozzo since 2012, the offer makes available about 10% of the club which is valued at £175 million.

“Having posted a pre-tax profit of £24.1 million for the last financial year, reported to be the highest in the EFL, we believe this is a fair valuation,” said a club statement.

The club said it is keen to put ownership in the hands of supporters. “Through this offering, fans, alongside investors will not only have the opportunity to own a share, but may also be provided tokens and other exclusive offers, at the discretion of Watford FC,” said the club.

The shares will be offered on the trading platform of US-based online investment platform Republic, a specialist in digital equity offerings, as well as on Seedrs, Republic’s platform in Europe. Seedrs is more often used for start-up businesses.

Shares can be bought, like traditional shares, in either sterling or US dollars with no necessity to purchase via cryptocurrency.

The shares have been priced at £12.44 with a minimum investment of four shares (£49.76) for investors buying through the Seedrs platform, and eight shares (£99.52) for investors by their through the Republic platform.

Once shares have been bought, there is a lock up period of 12 months before trading is allowed. The share offering launches tomorrow (Thursday June 6).

Overnight Tuesday, about £500,000 of shares had been reserved by 223 investors.

The club is still reportedly looking for new investors with Pozzo prepared to sell down his shareholding further.

“In common with many other clubs, we have been exploring opportunities to bring investment into the club as we look to grow the club further and bolster revenue streams which, in turn, allow us to strengthen the playing squads,” said the club statement.

Watford finished the 2023/24 season in 15th position having been relegated from the Premier League in the 2021/22 season.

On the club website, the notification of the share offer starts with the warning: “Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high risk investment and you are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong.”

Under the Pozzo ownership the club has had 17 managers in 11 years. High risk seems to go with the territory at Watford.

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