Co-owner to decide on Souths share this week
Peter Holmes a Court ... set to announce whether or not he will be selling his shares in the Rabbitohs. Photo: Edwina Pickles
SOUTH SYDNEY co-owner Peter Holmes a Court is set to announce this week whether to join Russell Crowe in selling his 37.5 per cent stake in the club.
Holmes a Court has been considering what to do with his shareholding since Crowe revealed in November he intended to sell his stake before the end of this season.
The pair are understood to have met in New York last year to discuss their plans for the club, but Holmes a Court is yet to advise Rabbitohs officials whether the full 75 per share that is held by their company, BlackCourt League Investments, will be sold or just Crowe's stake.
''I am back in Oz next week … meetings on Rabbitohs the week of Feb 4-11 to discuss everything,'' Holmes a Court said by email from Switzerland, where he was at the World Economic Forum. ''Enjoy the PNG trial [next weekend]. Will communicate my plans by then.''
If Holmes a Court was to retain his stake, it may simply be a matter of finding investors to take over Crowe's share in Blackcourt.
However, if he was to sell his stake then the ownership structure of the Rabbitohs would change significantly as Holmes a Court and Crowe have a controlling interest in the club.
The remaining 25 per cent is held by Member Co, which also has a golden share preventing any other stakeholder from changing the club's name, logo or colours - or relocating the team - without the consent of members.
The next annual meeting of Member Co, which is controlled by the 20,000 members of South Sydney Football Club, has been scheduled for March 3 and the ownership issue is expected to feature heavily if Holmes a Court decides to sell.
Among the options if the 75 per cent stake is put up for sale would be for the club to find a new owner, for it to take over Crowe and Holmes a Court's stake or offer members the chance to purchase shares in the famous club. According to an evaluation by fund manager Matthew Kidman, published by Fairfax Media on Sunday, the Rabbitohs would be virtually worthless if traded on the share market.
However, Souths insiders said the report, which found the Rabbitohs were a ''horrible investment'' mainly due to outstanding loans of $6.15 million to Crowe and Holmes a Court, was ''based on old numbers and the wrong valuation technique''.
''We'll deliver a sizeable profit this year, but that doesn't suddenly mean we are worth more than BHP,'' a Souths official said.
The Rabbitohs are not due to begin repaying the loans, which comprise $4.5 million provided by Holmes a Court and $1.65 million from Crowe, until October 31, 2015, and have agreed to do so ''evenly over a 10-year period''.