Daniel Kretinsky has agreed an option for a full takeover 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 an option is in place for him to acquire the shares owned by David Sullivan and David Gold for a set price.
The papers reveal that there was a put and call agreement between Sullivan, 1890 holdings a.s, the holding company used by Kretinsky to buy his shares, and EP Investment Sarl, Kretinsky’s investment company. It will give Sullivan, West Ham’s biggest shareholder, the right to sell his shares to Kretinsky at a set price. Kretinsky will have the option to buy Sullivan’s shares.
The price is set in writing and cannot change if Sullivan or Kretinsky take up their option. The figure will not rise if West Ham qualify for the Champions League this season and the documents also show that other shareholders can be included in the deal under the same terms.
The option exists only for a certain amount of time, but West Ham have not said when it expires. Any sale by Sullivan before March 2023 would incur a cost to him and Gold under the terms of the agreement by which West Ham moved to the London Stadium in 2016. Sullivan and Gold will have to pay financial penalties to the taxpayer if the club is sold for more than £300m. Kretinsky’s investment, which was between £180m and £200m, is understood to have valued West Ham at £700m.
Club insiders have previously played down suggestions that Kretinsky’s arrival will eventually lead to Sullivan and Gold leaving West Ham. The duo have owned the club since January 2010 and, although they have endured some rocky spells, they have seen West Ham make rapid progress since appointing David Moyes as their manager in December 2019. The club are fourth in the Premier League, reached the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday and are in the last eight of the Carabao Cup.
Kretinsky, known as the “Czech Sphinx” because of his inscrutable business style, has said that he does not intend to force through quick change. The 46-year-old told the Evening Standard this week that he wanted to help West Ham continue to build carefully on and off the pitch.