LONDON (Reuters) - Entrepreneur Alan Sugar has sold his stake in Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur for 25 million pounds to sports and media group ENIC International.
Sugar, who had never previously shown much interest in becoming involved in football, became chairman of Spurs in June 1991 when the club were in deep financial trouble.
Although they had won the FA Cup for a record eighth time the month before, they were in danger of going into administration, but together with manager Terry Venables the two men headed off interest from publishing mogul Robert Maxwell.
The partnership between Sugar and Venables ended acrimoniously with Sugar later sacking Venables which led to a number of high-profile court cases.
Although Sugar remained chairman for 10 years he later described his experience of running Spurs as “a complete waste of my time”.
He also famously threw away the Spurs shirt of fans’ favourite Juergen Klinsmann during a television interview when the Germany striker refused to take up an option to spend a second season at Spurs in 1995.
Sugar dismissed foreign imports into the English game as “Carlos Kickaballs” -- but later welcomed Klinsmann back for a second spell at White Hart Lane when his goals helped Spurs stave off relegation.
Sugar sold most of his shares in Tottenham to ENIC in 2001 and Thursday’s sale, to be completed next month, ends his relationship with the club where he was the second largest shareholder.
ENIC, which is ultimately owned by the family interests of Joseph Lewis and Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy, said in a statement that as a result of buying the stake from Sugar’s Amshold, its shareholding in Spurs now stood at 66 percent, up from 54 percent previously.
The purchase of Sugar’s stake will trigger a mandatory offer for the rest of the club’s shares, but ENIC said it intended to keep Tottenham Hotspur’s listing on the junior Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London. The shares fell 11 percent to 118 pence.
Additional reporting by Mike Elliott and Marc Jones
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