This is why billionaires want to buy Sunderland - and not Newcastle United

Sunderland’s takeover by a US consortium could be one of the shrewdest pieces of football business, according to one expert.
Stewart Donald watches the Rotherham game from the directors' box.Stewart Donald watches the Rotherham game from the directors' box.
Stewart Donald watches the Rotherham game from the directors' box.

John Phelan, Robert Platek and Glenn Fuhrman moved a step closer to their acquisition of the Black Cats, with a new company – entitled FPP Sunderland Limited - having been formed to finalise the deal.

Sport finance expert Daniel Plumley, of Sheffield Hallam University, has explained how the final fee paid by the American group is likely to be calculated - and why the Black Cats are one of the best investment opportunities in football.

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With Sunderland currently finding themselves in the third tier – despite spending most of their history in the upper echelons of English football – their valuation is far lower than Premier League clubs, such as local rivals Newcastle United.

And that means shrewd investors, such as the American trio eyeing the Black Cats, could spin a lucrative profit if they can guide the club to a top flight return.

Plumley explained: “When measuring a club’s value, we would look at the revenue of the club, their asset values - which are inflated slightly from what is in the accounts - and then you have the intangible stuff based around the fanbase, the history and where they stand in English football from a social point of view.

“If you look at the average revenues of Sunderland, they will increase if they go into the Championship or hit the Premier League jackpot.

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“Their current revenue is much lower, so they would be a much cheaper investment with the potential to grow.”

The asking price for the club has not been revealed, but Plumley says £50million would be a realistic figure.

“A conservative estimate, if we class them as a Championship club as they’re a big club in League One, would be around £50million,” he added. “It may be a little bit higher than that, because of all the add-ons and things like that.

“Anything around the £50million mark would be a relatively comparable figure.”