The former chief executive of football club Tottenham Hotspur is set to join sports agent and marketing group TLA Worldwide (TLA:AIM) as executive chairman. The news excites investors, driving the shares 5% higher to 10.5p.
Ian Gray’s experience at Tottenham is of a near 30-year vintage. While he was at the club in the early 1990s, the promise of a strategic review and a new plan for TLA is still taken positively.
Activist shareholder and hedge fund Gatemore Capital, which has a near-15% stake, has welcomed Gray’s appointment.
Separately TLA reveals chief financial officer Richard Shamsi had tendered his resignation, but he will now stay on and support Gray in the first stages of the review.
The company operates both a baseball representation business, serving as agent for several stars in Major League Baseball in the US, as well as a sports marketing arm which represents athletes outside of baseball. It also puts on sporting events.
TLA floated on AIM in December 2011 at 20p and a takeover from Atlantic Alliance Partnership at 65p fell apart in 2016.
An accounting issue in June 2017 put the shares under further pressure and the company announced in early September 2018 it would likely breach banking covenants with results set to be ‘significantly’ below market expectations as several planned events fell through.