Patron scores £80m football business

Private equity and real estate investor Patron Capital Partners has delisted Powerleague, a UK-based five-a-side football operator, from London’s AiM.

Powerleague, the largest owner of 5-a-side football pitches in Europe, has been taken private by Patron Capital Partners in a deal which values the company at £80 million.

Patron typically acquires operating businesses backed by substantial real estate assets.

Previously listed on London’s junior stock exchange AiM, Powerleague operates a portfolio of 44 sites across the UK, including the 22-pitch Old Trafford Soccerdome, the largest 5-a-side football centre in the world.

Powerleague: Plans to double in size over three years

The takeover was financed using more than £50 million of equity capital from Patron Fund III, an €867 million fund closed in March 2007. Third party debt was used only to refinance existing debt facilities, according to a statement from the firm. Patron had already held 29 percent of the firm’s share capital.

Patron has underwritten “significant additional equity capital to at least double the business over next three to five years with an aggressive roll-out of new sites”, the firm said. Shane Law, chief operating officer at Patron Capital Partners, said that while European expansion was a definite possibility for Powerleague, the UK remains the immediate focus.

Following the acquisition the management team, led by chief executive Sean Tracey and finance director Sheena Beckwith, remain at the company’s helm. Two new board members  join Powerleague: Jonathan First, former commercial director at gym group Esporta; and Richard Keys, a long-time presenter on sports television channel Sky Sports.