Wray takes full control of Saracens
REACTION: Nigel Wray dismissed claims Saracens are up for sale as "rubbish" as he has assumed total control of the European Champions Cup holders following Johann Rupert's decision to end his financial support.
Wray, who has spent more than £40m of his own personal fortune on the club, will pay an undisclosed sum to Rupert's South African based Remgro company and has confirmed he has already received expressions of interest from new investors willing to pump an estimated £30m into the Premiership club which lost to Leinster in the Champions Cup quarter-finals in Dublin.
Rupert jointly funded the £20m East Stand at Allianz Park with Wray, the club chairman and longest-serving Premiership owner, who is adamant that plans for the new West Stand are unaffected by the South African's departure. Work on the stand, which will include new changing rooms, is scheduled to begin before the start of next season. Saracens' annual losses have been falling for the last three years – it was £2.5m last year- and Wray expects the club to be in profit in around two year's time.
Wray said: "Saracens are not for sale – that's rubbish. Remgro are a billion pound company and the investment in the club is relatively tiny and they want to reduce that and I am going to buy their share. They have been fantastic partners and we will keep a relationship going because we want more South African players. Saracens will survive for a hundred years but I am not and so you have to create sustainability. We have major ambitions for one of the best club brands in the World.
"I am now the 100 percent owner and I have already got people expressing an interest and we will see how it evolves because there is no rush. Remgro put money into the club and that will be the case again because I haven't sold any shares. Any money goes to the club to make it better, not me; this is a love affair but it's not a blind love affair. I believe in what we are doing at the club and the family we have created and I have never added up what I have spent. Our losses are coming down every year
"The West Stand is going to cost £22m which is a shedload of money but we have had offers of finance to fund it and it would be a normal banking arrangement. Hopefully, building could start before next season. We are creating something meaningful in the community and the school we have funded is opening in September and we are more than just a rugby club."
Sarries will continue links with Rupert's company which as an interest in the Stormers Super Rugby franchise who have supplied key players such as Schalk Burger, Michael Rhodes and Schalk Brits to the first team squad.