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An update from Helford Capital

Community | 24th January 2024

Helford Capital are thrilled to complete the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Cardiff Rugby and are excited to embark on a bright new era for the club.

The investment company completed the transaction to acquire a 84.55% shareholding in the iconic Welsh rugby club following a general meeting of the company last night (Tuesday).

At the meeting, shareholders approved changes to the company’s share structure and constitution to allow the acquisition, with an overwhelming 99.99% vote in favour.

It concludes a 10-month period of negotiations since the passing of former Cardiff Rugby Life President Peter Thomas CBE. 

Helford Capital are spearheaded by British businessmen Phil Kempe and Neal Griffith, who have had a long association with the club and are determined to drive the Blue and Blacks back to the top of the European game. 

The ultimate ambition of Helford Capital for Cardiff Rugby is to deliver exceptional rugby experiences. Whether that is as a player, a staff member, sponsor, supporter or casual viewer the desire is to provide the very best. 

Stabilising the company has been the immediate priority and the short-term plan remains on putting solid foundations in place to deliver sustainable success.

A large part of the club’s strategy remains focussed on developing rugby talent from within and investment will therefore be made in facilities, the player pathway and academy system.

Cardiff are fortunate to already boast an exceptional pathway - only Leinster produce more players across the three top leagues in Europe - and we are determined to harness and unleash its full potential, first by increasing numbers and resource, while also introducing scholarship opportunities. 

This is a large part of the vision for the future, but we are also acutely aware of the need to supplement home grown talent with overseas experience to aid individual development and collective competitiveness. 

Progress is already being made in terms of recruitment and retention for the 2024-25 season, while the recruitment process will be strengthened to ensure all additions are the right fit for Cardiff in terms of ability, age-profile and personality. 

In addition to this, in the quest to provide the best environment to play or work in rugby, we will gradually introduce other means of investment in talent, whether that is through facilities, CPD or general wellbeing.  

Significant off-field support will also be made available to ensure ALL departments have the human resource, technology and tools to deliver commercial success and unrivalled experiences. 

We will now embark on an inclusive process to build a long-term strategy to ensure Cardiff is market leader in all areas of the business. 

With collective effort, we are confident we can deliver the Blue and Blacks back to being a competitive force in Europe. 

Cardiff is undeniably one of the biggest rugby brands in the world and it boasts a unique and unrivalled history. It is time for the club to live up to that rich history and this is the beginning of our journey to get there. 

We look forward to meeting all key stakeholders in the weeks and months ahead. 

We remain very grateful to all previous shareholders, particularly the Thomas family, Paul Bailey, the Smart family and Martyn Ryan, as well as Cardiff Athletic Club, who have all contributed so much to the club and are honoured to have this opportunity. 

Craig Davies, speaking on behalf of the Thomas family, added: “We are very grateful to everyone who has played a part in this process. 

“Following the sad loss of Peter last year, we felt it was the right time to hand the reins to others, who could drive the club forward in a new era.

“Cardiff Rugby was Peter’s unwavering passion and we are delighted to have found new investors  in Helford Capital, who possess the same energy and ambition to fulfil his legacy and vision. 

“We are very confident the club is in not only safe hands but now has a very exciting future and we look forward to continuing visiting the Arms Park as supporters.”