Business And Markets

Two Football Clubs Set for March 6 IPO Debut

Two Football Clubs Set  for March 6 IPO Debut
Two Football Clubs Set  for March 6 IPO Debut

Ten percent of shares held by the government in Tehran's two main football clubs, Esteghlal and Persepolis, will be sold via the Iran Fara Bourse (IFB) on March 6, head of the Iran Privatization Organization said.
"The two clubs have met IFB requirements. A meeting was held at the Economy Ministry this morning in the presence of the two clubs' CEOs and IFB officials where the remaining issues were resolved and the IPO date was finalized," Hossein Qorbanzadeh said Sunday, IRNA reported.
Meysam Fadaei, the IFB head, announced earlier that the two teams must meet five specific requirements to go public. "Both clubs must introduce the full board of directors, their registration process be finalized, ownership of the clubs' commercial brand be transferred to the clubs and ownership of their assets finalized," he said.
It has been reported that Esteghlal Athletic and Cultural Club is worth 27.8 trillion rials ($104.9 million) and Persepolis Athletic and Cultural Club 32.1 trillion rial ($121m). The IFB official said the “brand value” of the two clubs is estimated at 70% of their total value.
Referring to the mounting debts of the two soccer clubs, especially unpaid taxes, he was hopeful that the conditions would improve after the IPOs. 
Accumulated debts of the two clubs and their flawed financial reports are seen as the main hurdles to privatization. According to Qorbanzadeh the last financial statements put Esteghlal and Persepolis debts at 2,000 billion rials ($6.6 million) and 1,500 billion rials ($5 million), respectively. 
The IPO move comes after recent media reports on the possibility of banning the two clubs from the AFC Champions League 2022 for failing to meet key requirements for obtaining entry licenses to the games.
In May 2020, it was announced that shares of the two biggest soccer clubs will be offered in Iran Fara Bourse's Base Market after their registration and recapitalization is complete. 
Shares of companies unable to address the main regulatory requirements, namely financial transparency, can be traded only in the base market.
More than a decade ago, when the Asian Football Confederation demanded privatization of all professional football clubs, state-owned clubs were no more acceptable and deadlines were set for transfer of proprietorship.
Following the AFC ruling, several scenarios were considered for the two Iranian clubs, including auctions. Efforts to privatize Esteghlal and Persepolis failed time and again and the baton has been passed on from one government in Tehran to the next. 

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