Philipp Hildebrand, John Reece and Sunderland's ownership situation: What we know as Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven agree to sell shares with Kyril Louis-Dreyfus retaining control

Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have reportedly accepted a bid for their shares in Sunderland – with more information set to be made public over the coming days.

Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 6:01 pm

The Black Cats are preparing for next season’s Championship battle, yet their ownership situation remains complicated.

Here’s what we know about the situation:

What is Sunderland’s ownership situation?

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus at Wembley. Photo: Martin Swinney

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus became Sunderland’s majority shareholder last year, yet it has since been revealed he only owns 41 per cent of the club.

Former chairman Stewart Donald still owns 34 per cent, with Charlie Methven maintaining five per cent, yet the pair have said they are willing to sell their shares.

Juan Sartori has also kept his 20 per cent stake.

How much do Donald and Methven want for their shares?

Speaking to fanzine Roker Report in March, Methven revealed the figure that he and Donald are looking for to sell their remaining shares.

“Stewart placed our combined 39 per cent shareholding of the club with a prominent broker for sale at £11.7 million (equal to a club valuation of £30 million),” he said.

That came after Sunderland’s chief operating officer Steve Davison said he believes Louis-Dreyfus wants to purchase a larger stake in the club.

How much is Sunderland worth?

Sunderland’s value will have increased following their promotion to the Championship.

When asked about the estimated £30million price tag for Sunderland, sport finance expert Dr Daniel Plumley, of Sheffield Hallam University, told the Echo: “I think that’s pretty much there or thereabouts for Sunderland. It’s not an exact science which is another thing to add.

“If they are in the Championship I would probably add another £15-20million on that valuation.

“Obviously if you jump into the Championship and your revenue boosts by £10million and you’ve got extra commercial leverage and more exposure, you should be setting that price a little bit higher as well.”

What is now being reported?

According to Sky Sports, Donald and Methven have accepted a bid for their shares in Sunderland.

Sky Sports News presenter Tom White has claimed a deal needs EFL approval and a representative of the interested group was in the boardroom for last month’s play-off match against Sheffield Wednesday at the Stadium of Light.

White goes on to say there is confidence the deal will be done within five weeks and that more information on the buyers will become public in the next few days.

Who could the buyers be?

While there is little information about the potential buyers at this stage, journalist Alan Nixon has claimed Louis-Dreyfus’ stepfather Philipp Hildebrand could be a key player.

Nixon wrote on his Patreon that Hildebrand, a Swiss banker, could be involved in a deal to buy Donald and Methven’s shares, which would make Louis-Dreyfus a more central figure on Wearside.

The piece says that Hildebrand’s contacts from around the world could provide significant investment.

There has also been speculation linking the club with Sunderland-born businessman John Reece, the financial director of Swiss energy, chemical and manufacturing company INEOS, yet it’s unclear if the 65-year-old is part of the group that are looking to buy Donald and Methven’s shares.