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Acquisition of Reading FC reinforces Walker Morris’ reputation as premier sports law team

Fifth football club deal in a year strengthens Sports Group’s position as one of UK’s preeminent sports law specialists

Walker Morris has advised Renhe Sports Management Co Limited on its acquisition of 75% of Reading Football Club.

Renhe Sports Management, which is ultimately owned by Chinese brother and sister, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li, has become the majority shareholders at the club with the previous owners retaining a 25% share.

As part of the deal the Club has also undertaken a multi-million pound debt restructure.

Walker Morris fielded a multi-disciplinary team to advise on the deal comprising: David Hinchliffe, Christian Slinger, Owen Ormond and Alistair McHenry, with a number of other fee earners contributing to the due diligence and restructuring aspects of the deal. The deal marks the fifth football club sale/purchase in just over a year and is further evidence of the Group’s ranking as one of the leading sports law teams in the country.

Walker Morris’ Head of Sport, David Hinchliffe, who led the team, commented:

“This is exciting news for the Club, the fans and the players. The EFL has approved the transaction and the Dai family are eager to start in their new roles. They have been supporters of the Club and are keen to take the Club to the next level.  The Club is looking forward to a bright future with everyone’s immediate priority to focus on a great result in the forthcoming Championship play-off final at Wembley.”

Mr Dai said,

“One of my first priorities will be to visit the development site for the new training ground and we also intend to revisit stadium extension plans with the vision of creating world class facilities at the club.” “On behalf of everyone at Reading, I would like to officially welcome the Dai Family to the club,” said Thai shareholder Lady Sasima. “Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are clear in their ambition to take Reading Football Club forward and, together, we will work diligently to continue to build a positive, successful and stable future for our club.” Chief Executive Nigel Howe said,

“Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are investing in a club with undoubted potential – investment which will benefit not only the first team squad, but which will also help to improve the club’s training facilities, continue to support its Category One Academy programme and actively assist in delivering plans to develop the Royal Elm Park proposal. We are very pleased to welcome them to Reading.”

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