There’s been a lot of talk about shares lately at Celtic. Back in April, we gave you a quick insight into the state of play with regards to Celtic’s shareholders.

We all know Dermot Desmond is the majority shareholder and the decision maker at the club. However, our second major shareholder isn’t widely known. Our report ‘Who is Celtic’s second largest shareholder?‘ named investment group ‘Lindsell Train’ as our second largest shareholder.

Lindsell owns 18.6% of Celtic at the moment. Dermot Desmond owns 34.7%.

The group have invested in Juventus, Manchester Utd and Celtic.

There’s no emotional attachment to any of the clubs or shares. They are seen as an astute business move over the long term.

The group posted a PowerPoint presentation on what their goals are and the way they do business with all three clubs.

As part of that strategy, we have for many years invested in three great publicly quoted football clubs – Celtic, Juventus and Manchester United, across our Global and UK accounts. Your fund owns Celtic and Manchester United, amounting to 1.6% of NAV combined. Our investment case is based on the expectation that over the long term the value of these iconic institutions should rise as football’s global following expands and digital media allows fans to engage more deeply with the clubs they support

As with all our holdings we are not activist investors in the clubs, but we do engage regularly with senior executives, usually at the time of financial results. A focus of our engagement has been to encourage them to run the clubs with financial conservatism, to ensure they remain capable of dealing with the inevitable fluctuations of on-pitch performance. This has been a particular concern for us over the last 15 months, as COVID has hit the revenues of so many sports franchises.

Simply put, they believe when football inevitably restructures, their shares in all of these clubs will swell in price.

Speaking about the attempted breakaway Super League by Juventus and Manchester Utd, the group said they’ve consulted all three clubs even though Celtic were not a part of the ESL platform.

“The announcement of the breakaway European Super League (“ESL”) in April came as a surprise to us. In response, we requested and have now had meetings with all three clubs (including Celtic, even though it was not a member of the ESL).

“At these meetings we expressed our disappointment about the reputational damage Juventus and Manchester United have inflicted on themselves. We asked for clarity about their position regarding the ESL going forward.

“Most importantly, we urged them to return to respectful negotiations with all members of the football community to work toward mutually beneficial ends. We continue to monitor events closely as they unfold, while considering their implications for our investment case.”

So we have an unfeeling, unattached presence who will pop in to make sure Celtic aren’t overspending on players and staff etc.

The Celtic Trust is the vehicle for supporters to grow their holdings within the club so we can have a bigger say in the club.

It would take a massive groundswell of support for the Trust to get the sort of cash together to make a dent in the club’s shares. Steadily this season, they have had an increase in support but they’re a long way off anything substantial.


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