LONDON — The investment group of a Czech billionaire with a vast, Europe-wide portfolio of business interests has bought a 27% stake in West Ham, the Premier League club said Wednesday.
1890s holdings a.s is controlled by Daniel Křetínský, the majority owner of Czech soccer team Sparta Prague who also owns energy conglomerate EPH and is a media mogul in his home country.
Křetínský and his colleague, Pavel Horský, became members of West Ham’s board as a result of the acquisition into a club that is currently in third place in the Premier League after its 3-2 win over Liverpool on Sunday.
Co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan have controlled West Ham since 2010 and the club has made impressive strides in recent years under manager David Moyes in his second spell in charge.
“Having been to the London Stadium recently to watch David Moyes’ team, I know it is an incredible time to become part of the West Ham United family,” said Křetínský, who attended the Liverpool game. “I feel privileged to now have the opportunity to help everyone here build on the proud traditions of this great club.”
In the Czech Republic, Křetínský owns book publishing houses, a sport daily and magazines, and he co-owns French newspaper Le Monde. He has stakes in a number of other companies including Macy’s, Foot Locker, Sainsbury’s, Royal Mail and Metro.
West Ham has never been English champion but is a three-time FA Cup winner.
The club said the deal “will initially enable the reduction of its long-term debt and the ability to continue to direct funds generated into other key areas of focus, continuing the positive progress made at West Ham United in recent years.”
Two of West Ham’s best players, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, are Czech Republic internationals.