Nigel Wray, the chairman of top-flight English rugby union side Saracens, has secured full ownership of the Premiership club.
Wray has bought back the shares he sold nine years ago to South African entrepreneur Johann Rupert’s investment holding company Remgro, which acquired a 50 per cent stake in the reigning European champions but has now chosen to withdraw its investment.
Remgro’s decision comes after Saracens reported a pre-tax loss of UK£2.7 million (US$3.8 million) in 2017, despite turning over UK£17.8 million (US$25 million) in the 12 months leading up to June last year.
Wray, who first invested in the London-based club in 1995, has moved to dismiss talk of selling Saracens despite the loss of Remgro’s investment.
In an official club statement, Wray said: ‘Remgro has been a fantastic shareholder in Saracens for the last nine years and, as shareholders do, they have decided to reduce their shareholding and I am very happy to say that I’ve decided to buy all their shares as I have huge faith and commitment to this club and everything it stands for.
‘If you believe you have something great, then you must build in succession and sustainability. We all want Saracens to be great for the next 100 years and it’s quite likely, some might indeed even say probable, that I won’t be here for the next 100 years, so in due course we need to bring in extra investment into the club from outside. At this point I should say I have never sold a share in Saracens and never intend to. New money will always go into the club to continue building it for better and better things.
‘Club rugby in my view is going to expand hugely in the years ahead, so we are already speaking to people, good people, who wish to invest in the club and take it forward but there is no rush for the moment, as it is so important to find really good people who share our values. This is a great club I want it to remain precisely that.’
Saracens’ quest for a third consecutive European title was ended by a 30-19 defeat to Irish outfit Leinster on Sunday. They return to domestic action against Northampton on Saturday, when they will be looking to close the eight-point gap to leaders Exeter.