Wasps retail bond issue oversubscribed

COVENTRY rugby club Wasps has announced that its £35m retail bonds issue has been oversubscribed.

The offer period closed yesterday – a few hours early – and the club announced today that the net proceeds of the offer amounted to £33.85m.

David Armstrong, group chief executive of Wasps, said: “We are delighted at the success of our debut retail bond which was fully subscribed, and at reaching our maximum target of £35m.

“This is the first time a sports club has accessed the market in this way and the response from investors, both institutional and private, has been very positive. 
“The funds raised will enable us to restructure our balance sheet and pay down our existing debt, including the loans we acquired with the Ricoh Arena.

“We now have a solid foundation for the long-term future of the club and look forward to the future with confidence.”

The markets will be impressed – and other sporting clubs will note – that Wasps secured its targeted £35m of investment in just over a week.

The bond offers a fixed gross interest of 6.5% a year until 2022, paid semi-annually.

Wasps is the first sporting club in the country to offer such retail bonds, which have a minimum investment of just £2,000.

Wasps moved from High Wycombe to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry at the end of last year and paid an estimated £20m to take over the ownership of the stadium.

It acquired 100% of Ricoh Arena operating company ACL – jointly owned by the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and the city council, taking on ACL’s £14.4m loan from the council in the process.

Some of the money raised from its bonds issue will be used to pay off that loan.