Major news coming out of North London tonight where the Mirror claims Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis is ready to sell the club but it comes with a hefty price tag: $1.6 billion dollars.
The 77-year-old businessman, who purchased Spurs for $35.5 million in 2001, has been contemplating cashing in on the club for some time but now is ready to move forward if there is an interested bidder. But thus far, no luck.
The reason, aside from the exorbitant price tag, is that any new owner will be forced to assume the financial burden of building the club’s new stadium. And, as reported by ProSoccerTalk’s Joe Prince-Wright earlier today, the stadium situation grew more burdensome when a lawsuit was recently filed by previous landowners of the site that had been secured by the club for the new stadium.
While Spurs insist the club has no plans to relinquish control, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League has become all-the-more pressing goal in order to appeal to new investors. Tottenham will, however, be sure to mention to new investors the appeal of increased revenue expected from a new 56,000-seater venue, as well as income from the naming rights and TV cash.
But do those features justify the $1.6b price that Lewis seeks?
As a reference point, the last Premier League club to sell was Fulham in July 2013. While a decidedly smaller club than Tottenham, the Cottagers were bought by Shahid Khan for $325 million, one-fifth of Lewis’ asking price.
On par with that price is the current ask of American Randy Lerner for his club, Aston Villa, for $300 million. Again, Villa isn’t as big as Tottenham and is in Birmingham rather than London, but is, however, a club steeped in history and appeal.
Still not convinced that Lewis is asking a bit much?
In May 2014, Forbes calculated the value of the top soccer clubs in the world and in the Top 5 were two Premier League teams, Manchester United (#3) at $2.8 billion and Arsenal (#5) at $1.33B. In the Top 20 were a few more English sides, including Spurs at #13 with a value of $514 million.