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Norwich City: Mark Attanasio investment plan mapped out

The club were essentially looking at how they finance things.

The debts are getting higher and the repayments are getting higher because of increasing interest rates.

They were looking at how they could bring in some money, and they approached Mark Attanastio with regard to getting some financing at a cheaper rate to the rates they had on those borrowings. We know his background is in that area, and he’s very successful in that arena as well.

I’m led to believe that the Attanasio response was ‘yes’, and he was very happy to explore that, and ultimately help the club financially. But he didn’t want to do that as a 22pc shareholder. Why would he?

That’s a huge financial commitment, and he would be looking to have something that represents that in his shareholding mix. From that point onwards, they’ve moved forward.

Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones are very much an important part of that process, and they’re in agreement with that. That’s one of the key strands of this conversation, but also the documentation that’s gone out and what this meeting is.

There’s no appetite yet for there to be a transfer of ownership, or a transfer of control. Not from the Attanasios, or from Delia and Michael. Things on that front are very much where they were when they first came on board.

As Mark and his family have said, they don’t really know the ins and outs of football. They wanted to learn the business, about Norwich City as a club and as a community entity. They know fully that they have a lot to learn, and that’s still their viewpoint.

Delia and Michael still see themselves as custodians at the club, and they don’t wish for that to change dramatically. They’re not, in the short term at least, going to go off and become lifetime presidents and relinquish their shareholding.

That’s where things are at the moment, and as a result we are where we are. The reason why 194,000 shares have been created is to allow the Attanasios and the current majority shareholders to have exact parity when it comes to their shareholding.

But what brings things right up to date is the ‘takeover code’, which relates to PLCs. The takeover code applies once you get to a 30pc shareholding, so if he was then to take these 194,000 shares he’d be over that threshold.

So then things would get a little bit out of the club’s control and the pace they want to go out, and it would be in the hands of individual shareholders to decide the club’s future with their own shares.

The most Attanasio has paid for a share is £25, so he’d be required to offer £25 for every share there currently is in the club. That applies to roughly 6,500 independent shareholders, so he’d have to offer them £25 per share.

This is why that meeting is taking place, to essentially waive the requirement for Attanasio to make that offer to every shareholder. So the shareholders would be voting to waive their right to an offer from Attanasio of £25 per share.

So if the vote goes the way Norwich hope it does, it will allow Delia, Michael and the Attanasios to go at the pace they want to, continuing to learn about each other and developing that relationship. Then maybe further down the track it does become a transfer of power.

If that vote didn’t pass, then they’d probably have to go back to the drawing board, because essentially, to reiterate, Attanasio is not willing to be the biggest shareholder and really hands-on at present.

They are fully immersed in the club; they were at the Southampton games, he has a big presence in board meetings and talks to Stuart Webber after every game. But at this stage, they don’t wish to take the reins from Delia and Michael.

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