Ipswich Town FC sells large stake to Bright Path Sports Partners

Ipswich Town Football Club is delighted to announce a significant investment from US-based private equity firm, Bright Path Sports Partners. Bright Path Sports’ investment of up to £105million secures a c40% stake in the Club and is an exciting step which will further secure the Club’s future.

The investment is being made to support the Club in the long-term and comes at a time when the Three Lions fund, represented by Berke Bakay and Brett Johnson at Board level, has also significantly increased its investment. Bright Path Sports is to be represented by co-founders Jake Zahnow and Phillip Ciano. Their investment is comprised of several limited partners, of which Sam Simon, the founder of Simon Group Holdings and Simon Sports, is the primary funder.

Ipswich Town FC sells large stake to Bright Path Sports PartnersFollowing Bright Path Sports’ investment, ORG, which manages funds for PSPRS (the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System) and is headed by Ed Schwartz, remains the majority and controlling shareholder in the Club, retaining a c50% holding. The remaining 10% is made up of smaller investors including the Three Lions.

CEO Mark Ashton will continue to manage the day-to-day running of the Club, with new investors Bright Path Sports providing capital and strategic thinking which will be of significant benefit to the Club. Ed Schwartz, co-founder and Principal of ORG, the Club’s majority shareholder, said: “When we purchased Ipswich Town in 2021, we did so with the initial aim of restoring the Club to the Championship and becoming competitive at this level, with the plan always including bringing a partner on board when the time was right.

“The Club’s progress means we feel that time is now and we are excited to welcome Bright Path Sports. Alongside the continued day-to-day leadership of Mark Ashton, who we are delighted has further committed his future to the Club, we look forward to Bright Path bringing significant value to Ipswich Town in the coming years.”

Mark Ashton, Town CEO, said: “We are excited to welcome Bright Path Sports on what is another landmark day in the Club’s history. “This is a day that further secures the long-term future of the Football Club and gives us the means to move the Club forward as we benefit from the wide range of skills and experiences Bright Path’s investors will bring. “The investment will continue to support the Club in both the medium and long term, with the biggest immediate use being to support a number of key infrastructure projects, including the significant redevelopment of the training ground at Playford Road.”

Town Director and Three Lions representative, Berke Bakay, added: “We are delighted Bright Path have committed capital to the Club alongside the additional funds we have invested. “The start of our journey at Ipswich has been an incredible one and we look forward to continuing it alongside our new partners.”

Sam Simon, the lead investor in the Bright Path-Ipswich investment, said: “We are excited to be making this investment in a brilliant football club. “We love the history, the potential for the future, the passionate fans and the management of the Club, who are amazing people. We invest in people and this is perfect for us. “We believe in investing for the future in order to give the team and management the tools to do their jobs and we’re excited to be working together.”

Bright Path Sports co-founder, Jake Zahnow added: “Phil and I looked at teams all over the world regarding possible investments and, after meeting Mark and Ed, we stopped looking. “We are here to provide capital while offering our input whenever Mark and Ed need it, but first-and-foremost our job is to support them whenever it is required. “Mark and the team at Ipswich have an in-depth knowledge and vast experience of running football clubs and we love the direction the Club is moving in, while being excited for the future.”

The new investment sees changes at Board level, with Sam Simon and Bright Path Sports co-founder Jake Zahnow joining the Board of Gamechanger 20 Ltd; the company formed to purchase Ipswich Town in April 2021.

Town CEO Mark Ashton will also join the Board of Gamechanger 20 Ltd, while the Club’s Chief Operating Officer, Luke Werhun, will join the Boards of both Gamechanger 20 Ltd and the Football Club. Ed Schwartz, Chairman Mike O’Leary and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Tom Ball will continue as Board members of both Gamechanger 20 Ltd and the Football Club.

A full interview outlining the new investment, featuring Ed Schwartz, Mark Ashton, Sam Simon, Jake Zahnow, Mike O’Leary and Berke Bakay, is now free to watch on the Club’s streaming platform, TownTV.

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