Hip hop legend Jay-Z is preparing to front a bid to buy Tottenham Hotspur if Joe Lewis is convicted of alleged insider trading, according to a close business associate.
Lewis was arraigned last Tuesday in Manhattan federal court with 16 counts of securities fraud and three of conspiracy to commit fraud, which prosecutors called a “brazen” insider trading scheme to enrich his friends, lovers and employees, including two private jet pilots.
Under the terms of a $300m bond to secure his release, Lewis agreed to surrender his private yacht Aviva, which he is now prohibited from boarding, and his personal plane, which can be used – with prior notification to prosecutors – for domestic US travel.
The 86-year-old, who is based in the Bahamas bought Tottenham in 2001 via his ENIC company, along with current chairman Daniel Levy.
Spurs are 86.58% owned by ENIC and the investment company itself is 70.12% owned by the Lewis Family Trust. Levy, and certain members of his family hold the other 29.88% of ENIC.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter has a net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion (USA Today) and would want to look to potentially move forward with the backing of other investors.
It is believed that Levy values Spurs at upwards of £3.5 billion with sources convinced that the 61-year-old would want to retain his position, at least in the short-term, as part of any takeover (Telegraph).
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Jay-Z interested in potential Tottenham takeover
The business associate of Jay-Z told The Express US: “More than a few of the very top clubs there – like Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea – are now under US ownership and Jay would jump at the chance of a controlling interest at board level somewhere with the global reach of Spurs.
“It remains to be seen whether Mr. Lewis will walk away free. If he doesn’t, Jay has said he wants to be in a position to move quickly if he feels the price is right.”
His associate added when it was mentioned of an estimated market value of $2.8 billion (£2.18billion) for the North London outfit: “He believes this is achievable, especially with the backing of fellow investors.”
Tottenham have made it somewhat clear that Joe Lewis is not the owner of the club in the wake of his indictment in the States having stepped back from his stated position at Spurs on 5 October 2022 in a move that was also signed off by the Premier League’s board.
In October of last year, Lewis gave majority control of ENIC, and thus majority control of Tottenham, to a family discretionary trust of which the listed beneficiaries are members of his family. The trust is managed by two independent trustees. The beneficiaries of a discretionary trust have no legal entitlement to the assets.