The new owner of AA Gent, Sam Baro (47), has now pumped eleven million euros into AA Gent. A second tranche of ten million is to follow in the course of the year. The new board of directors was also announced. There Baro sits with four envoys. Chairman of the Board Ivan De Witte and CEO Michel Louwagie remain on board for another year.
Today the takeover of AA Gent was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. It appears that the successful businessman Sam Baro has now transferred 11 million euros to the club. Another 10 million euros will be added by June 30, 2024 at the latest. All in all, Baro will make a capital injection of 21 million euros.
In addition, he buys out almost all shareholders for a total amount of more than 7 million euros. Striking, because these stakeholders – there are 50 in total – received their block of shares in 2016 without ever having invested a cent in AA Gent. Among them are Ivan De Witte and Michel Louwagie, who will now receive 2.5 and 1.5 million euros respectively. Some former shareholders are considering reinvesting the amount they receive from Baro into AA Gent. The supporter organization “Tribune7” also demands this. “Many got free shares. Baro is now paying them seven million. “It costs the club money,” he said.
Ultimately, Baro will get 95% of the club. Vdk Bank and the City of Ghent will keep their (small) block of shares.
Before the takeover, the piggy bank of AA Gent, henceforth no longer a “CVBA with a social purpose” but a “Aktiengesellschaft (nv)”, amounted to around 17 million euros. Seven million of these are now earmarked for charitable work – an explicit request from the city of Ghent and the supporters. Thanks to Baro’s capital injection of 21 million euros, the club’s capital will thus increase to 31 million.
The acquisition doesn’t mean CEO Ivan De Witte and CEO Michel Louwagie are suddenly leaving. The successful duo will stay on board for another year to give Baro time to settle in. In addition to Baro, De Witte and Louwagie, five other people are members of the new board. Four of them were appointed by Baro: Giovanni Verkooren (lawyer and advisor to Baro), Evelien Van Hyfte (director at Zorg Magazine), Kaatje De Smet (recruitment consultant) and Nelis De Clercq (financial expert Planet Group). Finance director Geert Vergaerde will sit on the board of directors on behalf of the city of Ghent.
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Source : HLN