Saracens have announced a takeover deal worth £32m as the club owner hands control to an investment consortium that includes Francois Pienaar, the former South Africa World Cup-winning captain.
Nigel Wray has agreed the terms of a takeover for the former Premiership and European champions by a group of investors led by Dominic Silvester, the chief executive of Enstar Group, a multinational insurance company. The deal will mark the end of Wray’s 26-year club ownership.
The consortium also includes Marco Masotti, the New York-based owner of the Sharks, the South African franchise. Maggie Alphonsi, the former England Women’s World Cup winner and ex-Saracens flanker, will also join the board.
“I have given my heart and soul to the club for more than two decades, having chaired Saracens since the first days of professionalism,” said Wray. “Sadly, I’m not getting any younger and I have always wanted to make sure that Saracens is in very safe hands for many future generations. To show our continued enthusiasm for the future of Saracens I will be retaining a significant minority shareholding albeit a passive one.
“I am thrilled to hand over control to the consortium which comprises people who I know well and who understand the culture we’ve been able to create over more than 20 years both on and off the field, particularly within the community through the Saracens Foundation and the Saracens Multi-Academy Trust. I am looking forward to becoming just a fan again and supporting the club I love whilst focusing more of my time on the pioneering work of our amazing Foundation and supporting the build out of the Saracens school programme.”
If the move is approved by the RFU and Premiership Rugby, it will be seen as a clean slate for the club, whose reputation was tarnished by salary cap breaches. Saracens, who have won the Premiership five times along with three European titles, were relegated to the Championship in 2020 and fined £5.36m for the breaches.
Wray’s daughter, Lucy, will remain as the club’s chief executive but her father will be a minority shareholder and a passive investor.
The details of the takeover – which will enable the club to move forward with their new west stand development at the StoneX Stadium and invest in a women’s team – were announced on Saturday morning before the club’s match against Leicester.