Daniel Kretinsky has accepted the option to take full possession of West Ham as part of his purchase of a 27% stake in the club.
The Czech billionaire became West Ham’s second-largest shareholder last month, and documents submitted to Companies House this week show that there is an option available for him to acquire shares owned by David Sullivan and David Gold at a set price.
The papers reveal a sale and recall agreement between Sullivan, an 1890 holding company, the holding company Kretinsky used to purchase his shares, and EP Investment Sarl, Kretinsky’s investment company. It will give Sullivan, West Ham’s largest shareholder, the right to sell his shares to Kretinsky at a set price. Kretinsky will have the option to purchase Sullivan shares.
The price is set in writing and cannot be changed if either Sullivan or Kretinsky make a choice. The number will not rise if West Ham qualify for the Champions League this season and the documents also show that other shareholders could be included in the deal under the same terms.
The option only exists for a certain period of time, but West Ham have not said when it will expire. Any sale by Sullivan before March 2023 would cost him and Gold under the terms of the agreement under which West Ham moved to the London Stadium in 2016. Sullivan and Gold would have to pay fines to the taxpayer if the club were sold for more than £300m. It is known that Kretinsky’s investment, which ranged between £180m and £200m, valued West Ham at £700m.
Club insiders have played down suggestions that Kretinsky’s arrival will eventually lead to the departures of Sullivan and Gold West Ham. The duo have owned the club since January 2010, and while they have experienced some periods of difficulty, they have seen rapid progress at West Ham since David Moyes was appointed as their manager in December 2019. The club sits fourth in the Premier League, reaching last. 16 from the Europa League on Thursday and go into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Known as the “Czech Sphinx” due to his ambiguous working style, Kretinsky said he has no intention of forcing quick change. The 46-year-old told the Evening Standard this week that he wants to help West Ham continue to build carefully on and off the field.