Barnaba: ‘Forced to abandon the Sampdoria rescue project’. The OFFICIAL statement from Merlyn

The unavailability of the majority shareholder to fold in such a delicate situation for the Club, the unavailability of the two main creditor banks of the Company to consider a debt restructuring plan as well as the decision of the board of directors of UC Sampdoria not to proceed with the reduction of the share capital due to losses remove the necessary conditions for Merlyn Partners SCSp to invest up to 50 million euro in UC Sampdoria and immediately launch an industrial and financial recovery plan, creating the conditions for the sporting relaunch of the Club. Merlyn Advisors, the management company of the Merlyn Partners SCSp fund, is thus forced to interrupt the ongoing negotiations started on 3 November 2022 with the shareholder majority, the Company and its advisors.

The decision was communicated by Dr. Alessandro Barnaba, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Merlyn during the shareholders’ meeting convened today 5 January 2023, at the headquarters of UC Sampdoria, which was officially deserted following the umpteenth decision not to appear by the majority shareholder Sport Spettacolo Holding.
In addition to the Board of Directors and the Board of Statutory Auditors, only Doctor Barnaba was present at the meeting, representing Metis Sporting Sarl (a company 100% owned by Merlyn Partners SCSp) as a small shareholder of the company.

“With great regret I have to note that there was no interest on the part of the current owners in finding a solution that would have allowed Merlyn to save and subsequently relaunch Sampdoria. In the absence of the conditions deemed necessary by us, on which we have worked hard in recent weeks, first of all the reduction of the share capital due to losses and the debt restructuring plan, we must note that there are no conditions for us to be able to subscribe to the capital increase that the company needs e we are therefore forced to give up on what would have been a new difficult but very fascinating and important challenge” – declared Alessandro Barnaba, co-CIO of Merlyn Advisors who then continued “Our project would have given Sampdoria the financial resources necessary to re-emerge from the situation of evident financial difficulty in which it finds itself and continue to compete in Serie A, guaranteeing it a economically viable future e thanks to the synergies with Lille – LOSC, team of the French top division and French Champion in the 21/22 season 99.9% owned by Merlyn Partners SCSp, it would have started a relaunch also from a sporting point of view”.

Merlyn is a globally active financial player specializing in investments in Special Opportunities and Distressed Assets who bought Lille in December 2020 just before it filed for insolvency. After an 18-month restructuring plan, Lille was not only saved from financial bankruptcy and the loss of the sporting title, but was transformed into an institution that today represents a model in club management, with a strong management, capable of achieving important sporting results and at the same time maintaining a financial balance not dependent on the trading of players, but where the latter simply represents a means to always have a competitive team.

Thanks to its team, specialized in financial restructuring operations, to its legal advisors and with the support of the Lille management for the sporting part, Merlyn Advisors has presented, in recent weeks, to the owners and members of the Board of Directors of UC Sampdoria an industrial project characterized by some precise guidelines whose main objectives were to avoid the risk that the difficult financial situation of the Club could lead to the loss of the sporting title (with the consequent need for the team to restart from Serie D (or Serie C in the best of cases) and to proceed with its relaunch using the following levers:

– Subscription of 100% of the capital increase of Euro 30 million to replenish the assets.
– Payment of a further 20 million made available to the company in the form of shareholder financing to meet working capital needs.
– Start of a corporate restructuring process under the guidance of a new highly experienced management team.
– Restructuring of the enormous amount of debt (financial and otherwise) accumulated especially over the last 2 years.
– Creation of important synergies with Lille on sports management.
– Immediate strengthening of the team also through the loan of some players from Lille with the aim of remaining in Serie A at the end of the 2022/2023 season, as part of the management of the January transfer market.
– Focus on revenue growth not related to player trading (Sponsorship, Match Day, Merchandising).
– Focus on cost reduction to achieve break-even between revenues and recurring costs (both net of players trading) in the shortest possible time.
– Creation of a strong team to compete permanently at the top of the Serie A table and achieve growth in TV rights revenues.

A plan conceived in this way would have allowed, by concentrating resources and skills only in UC Sampdoria and not in rescuing other subjects unrelated to football, to lay solid foundations to be able to start building a path that would have led the Company to adopt a modern and suitable for today’s football with specifically sporting goals and objectives. Other solutions that have been aired up to now, the probability of implementation of which we consider extremely low, and which look more like financial palliatives than actual recovery and revitalization projects, even if they were to be implemented there is the risk that they could have the only consequence to prolong the very difficult situation in which the Company and its employees found themselves, as well as the situation of great discomfort that circles close to the Club are experiencing, such as for example the world of fans, who are once again witnesses, for a decision by the current owner, the failure of a plan that would have allowed us to look to the future with renewed optimism (especially after yesterday’s good victory in Sassuolo) and not, on the contrary, with uncertainty and fear for the general fate of the team. Thus reiterating its regret over the impossibility of realizing its industrial project for UC Sampdoria, Merlyn Advisors will nonetheless follow the evolution of the situation with the utmost attention.

Should favorable circumstances arise for the realization of an industrial project, certainly different in content and conditions from the one just described, Merlyn could be available to consider an intervention always with an ethical and professional view of guaranteeing an adequate future for the Company and a sustainable return on investment.

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Barnaba: ‘Forced to abandon the Sampdoria rescue project’. The OFFICIAL statement from Merlyn


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