Thai Consortium Take-over – published on HNA by starliaison
This post will be more useful to the OP and others who perhaps follow news about the club less
closely. It might also be helpful as a ‘join the dots’ exercise re the new ownership. This is all
based on published information, except where caveated with ‘we believe’ etc.
The Thai consortium acquired Reading FC Ltd from RFC Holdings in mid-September 2014.
Technically the shares in the Club are held in equal measure by 4 UK registered limited
companies. However, searches at Companies House show that these companies in turn seem to
be wholly owned individual subsidiaries of four companies registered in the Far East., The
Football Club is:
25% owned by GPT Football Investment Ltd and 25% owned by GPT UK Investment Ltd, which
both have Narin Niruttinanon as their sole director.
25% owned by RFC UK Investment Co Ltd, which has Sasima Srivikorn as its sole director.
25% owned by Universal FICO Ltd, which has Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth as its sole director.
Since the takeover Reading Football Club Limited has registered new Articles of Association at
The word ‘owner’ in the context of English football has taken on some connotations of active,
upfront, in your face involvement by a dominating individual. I’m sure you can think of some.
The Thai consortium at Reading does not appear to be going down that route. It might be more
helpful to think of these three individuals as ‘investors’. Of the 8 directors on the Board of the
Football Club, in addition to the three “investors”, there are two other Thai directors who are not
shareholders but represent the Thai interests and are senior business figures in their own right
and there are (from before the takeover) Sir John Madejski, Nigel Howe (the CEO) and Ian WoodSmith. There are also several other Thai advisers involved, one of whom is Samrit as featured on
Facebook, who has experience of owning a football club in Thailand.
The objective of the consortium has not been expressed to STAR but we believe it is almost selfevidently a continuation of the previous mission, namely to establish the club in the Premier
League in the manner of a Stoke, Swansea or Southampton. We believe the strategy by which
this could be achieved is using Reading’s competitive advantage over other Championship clubs –
the quality of the Academy. This should attract better quality prospects, better and lower cost
players into the team and inevitably higher transfer fees out. The Bearwood development which
we believe to be on-going, is a key part of that.
The Thais have paid off all the major external debts created by the previous ownership for which
we all ought to be very thankful. The legacy of the previous ownership has been both damaging
and enduring. Because as fans we were not confronted with ‘Save the Royals’ collection buckets
and mournful faces on regional TV news, Pompey-style, we probably don’t fully appreciate how
bad the situation was 6 months ago but STAR, in a previous press release, has commented on the
heroic efforts and contributions of long-standing members of the club management.
However as Nicky Hammond and others have explained the club’s / owners’ hands are somewhat
tied by the regulations on Financial Fair Play and the high wage costs of ‘talent’ currently not on
the pitch. The club will stick to the FFP rules (unlike some clubs who see fit to chance a £50m
fine) so it’s down the skills of football management, transfer policy and fitness regimes to
improve the current situation. You can thus perhaps see why the new owners haven’t come in
shouting ‘Bright New Dawn’ – especially after the last guy who did so.