Blades

Sheffield United were due to be sold for as little as £7m under plans drawn up between Blades co-owner Kevin McCabe and investors ALK Capital, a court has heard.

By Dan Hayes
Thursday, 13 June, 2019, 13:41

The claim came on the final day of evidence in a trial that will decide on the long-running ownership dispute between Mr McCabe and his Sheffield United co-owner Prince Abdullah.

ALK Capital were in negotiations to buy the club with the McCabe family in late 2017 and early 2018, but this deal fell through after the breakdown in the relationship between the clubs current co-owners.

Sheffield United owners Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abulaziz Al Saud.

On Thursday, the view of Prince Abdullah’s expert witness Douglas Harmer, of Oakwell Capital, that the club was currently worth between £100-120m, was repeatedly challenged by Paul Downes QC as too high.

He said: “As of today the implied value of the ALK deal of £37m – £7m for the club and £30m for the property – is a far better valuation for Sheffield United than your valuation of £100-120m.

“But because it doesn’t fit with your purview you are prepared to disregard it. No one is going to pay £100m for a club that might be back in the Championship in a year’s time.”

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Mr Harmer said he gave ‘little or no weight’ to the £7m figure in his calculations as he didn’t think it was a ‘sensible valuation’ for the club at that time.

He also sought to defend his method against an accusation from Mr Downes it was more a product of his ‘gut instinct’ than accountancy.

“£7m does not look like a reasonable price for a club that had a decent chance of promotion to the Premier League,” he said.

“But I completely accept that there is limited science behind my approach, it is more like an art.”

After Mr Harmer concluded his evidence, the court adjourned until Monday, June 24, when it will hear two days of oral closing arguments before the judge retires to consider his verdict, due later this year.

The case continues.