What is US investor David Blitzer doing with FC Augsburg?

What is US investor David Blitzer doing with FC Augsburg?

Things are generally rather quiet at FC Augsburg – but then the latest news has generated nationwide interest in the world of soccer: David Blitzer, an investor from the USA, is joining the club, which plays in the Bundesliga. Private equity investors from Switzerland are also important in the global investment markets. The big financial world is thus making inroads into the Augsburg environment, which until now has been characterized primarily by calm and regional cohesion. But what does Blitzer plan to do with FCA and how could the structures and approaches at the club now change? In the following, you will find everything you need to know about the big deal in the Fuggerstadt.

Blitzer’s company invests 5.5 million euros

The commercial register shows that Bolt Football Holdings has invested €5.5 million in FC Augsburg. In return, the company receives 45 percent of the shares, which are available around the FCA in a spun-off corporation. Behind Bolt Football Holdings is David Blitzer, who thus becomes a business partner of Klaus Hofmann, the club’s president. Hofmann Investoren GmbH holds 99.4 percent of the shares in FC Augsburg GmbH und Co. KGaA. The professional division of the Fuggerstädter, which has been playing in the top German league for 10 years – despite a mostly rather low budget – has been spun off into this company.Bolt Football Holdings has now joined Hofmann’s GmbH as a shareholder. The US-based company now holds 45 percent of the shares, while Hofmann itself holds 30.56 percent. The rest of the shares are divided between shareholder Thilo Sautter (4.07 percent) and Projekt Green GmbH (20.37 percent). The latter reduced their shares to enable Blitzer and his company to enter the market. Two shareholders left the company completely: MAJA Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft and MHM Group.

Who is David Blitzer?

The background to the deal is that Blitzer and Hofmann have known each other for around 20 years. Blitzer, a U.S. citizen, grew up in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. He graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in 1987 and then studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated magna cum laude. Upon graduation, he accepted a position with the Blackstone Group in 1991 and became a Senior Managing Director & Head of Tactical Opportunities in the Ney York City metropolitan area. He subsequently developed into a successful businessman who revealed a weakness for sports.

Blitzer is a co-owner of several clubs in various sports. In soccer, he has minority shares in Crystal Palace, a Premier League club in England. In Belgium, first division club Waasland-Beveren has been 97 percent owned by the Bolt Group since September 2020. He also has a hand in two other sports clubs from two of the world’s biggest leagues: The 52-year-old holds shares in the Philadelphia 76ers from the US basketball league NBA and in the New Jersey Devils from the ice hockey league NHL in the USA.

What will change on the Supervisory Board at FCA?

There are changes on the supervisory board of the KGaA surrounding FC Augsburg following Blitzer’s entry. Marcus Höfl, known as Franz Beckenbauer’s manager, is leaving the supervisory board as his MHM Group no longer has any shares. The same applies to Detlef Diesel, who is leaving with MAJA Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft. However, the positions of the two Supervisory Board members will not be filled. Blitzer will not be given a seat on the Supervisory Board or any other post with the Augsburg-based company. The same applies to the Bolt Group, which will in future consist of only three people: Chairman Stefan Frederking, Thilo Sautter and Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker, a former FC Augsburg professional.

Why does Blitzer invest in FC Augsburg?

This is a question that only Blitzer himself can answer, but he has not yet commented on it. His intentions, however, are quite obvious. For the entrepreneur, the investment in FCA represents a great opportunity to play a role in German soccer – which is generally very difficult for investors to access. With his Bolt Group, he is seizing every opportunity to generate more significance in the sport.

FCA is also seen as an ambitious and attractive club, which has attracted attention in the past with good business and a secure place in the Bundesliga. A good investment for the future. His friendship with Hofmann should have given him good insights into the club. The final reason for Blitzer might simply be his hobby of investing in various sports clubs in the U.S. and Europe.

What does the entry of Blitzer bring to FCA?

For FC Augsburg, the entry of Blitzer also brings one or two advantages. Above all, the Fuggerstädter can expect greater and new economic opportunities that go hand in hand with such a globally active company. One keyword here is internationalization. Marketing and sponsoring on the American market are difficult for small clubs like FCA to implement, but Blitzer and his company will open doors. The exchange with North American professional clubs around know-how is also an opportunity for the club. Particularly in the USA, FCA has wanted to make its presence felt for some time. A trip to the USA was planned for the summer of 2020 as part of the preparations. However, this was cancelled due to the Corona pandemic. In financially difficult times, the deal also brings security to a club that always has to manage well. The club got through the Corona crisis without any state aid, which is remarkable considering the 35 million euros in lost revenue. Meanwhile, the arrival of Blitzer does not represent a major change, as there is no change in the balance of power. This is certainly also an important point for the club, which stands for tradition.

Source: Kicker 

Photo by hoch3media on Unsplash

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