Russian oil major Lukoil buys Spartak Moscow football club and the Otkritie Bank Arena in Moscow

Russian oil major Lukoil buys Spartak Moscow football club and the Otkritie Bank Arena in Moscow
Russian oil major Lukoil has snapped up two of Russia's best football assets: Spartak Moscow football club and the Otkritie Bank Arena in Moscow #football #Russia #Ukraine #bne #EmergingMarkets #sanctions #RussiaUkraineWar #Fedun / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews August 22, 2022

Russian oil major Lukoil bought the Spartak Moscow football club and the Otkritie Bank Arena in Moscow, the company said in a statement on August 22.

The extreme sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February has sparked an M&A bonanza as major companies across the industrial spectrum have been forced to unload some of their prized assets. Those companies relatively unaffected by the sanctions have been snapping up bargains as companies are put on sale at fire damage prices.

The state bought back a Renault-Nissan controlling stake in the car giant Avtovaz for a reported one ruble in April, entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov was forced to sell his controlling stake in the run-away success, Tinkoff Bank, Russia first purely online bank, for pennies on the dollar after he publicly condemned the war in Ukraine. Now oil major Lukoil has snapped up two of Russia’s best football assets.

"Lukoil announces the acquisition of 100% share in [the] JSC ‘Football Club Spartak-Moscow’ and ‘Otkritie Bank Arena’ stadium," a company statement reads. "The Company has been the major sponsor of the Club for over 20 years and has worked in close co-operation with the Club on projects related to "Lukoil" brand promotion… In the near future, Lukoil intends to implement a number of strategic initiatives aiming to enhance the Club[‘s] management system and streamline the decision-making process with involvement of sports industry professionals with [a] proven track record," the company stated.

The club is owned by oil industry legend Leonid Fedun, the former number two at Lukoil, who stepped down from his job in June after being included in the sanctions lists. He says he is leaving the list of the club’s shareholders and would no longer be part of the club’s management for the same reason.

"Lukoil also informs that due to secession from shareholders, Mr. Fedun resigns as president, board member and chairman of JSC "Football Club Spartak-Moscow" and will no longer be involved in [the] management of the club," the company said. "Lukoil highly appreciates Leonid Fedun's contribution to the development of the club, [and] its infrastructure and sports achievements."

Spartak Moscow FC’s press office quoted Fedun as saying in a statement later in the day that the football club can always rely on his support in the future, Tass reports.

"This wonderful story comes to an end. I would have never dared to imagine, when in 1972 I first attended a Spartak Moscow match, that in the course of 18 years I would be in charge of this legendary team, but the dreams come true from time to time," the statement from the club cited Fedun as saying.

"All of these years combined a great deal of everything including blazing victories and awful defeats. There were moments of triumph and a bitter taste of defeats. We welcomed new teammates and parted ways with those whom we should rather forget about. This is life, this is football," he continued.

"You can always count on my help and support. I am staying a devoted fan of my favourite team Spartak. Forward, Red-and-Whites! Win new titles!" Fedun said, who took over the club in 2004.

Throughout its century-long history, Spartak Moscow FC has been a 12-time USSR champion and ten-time champion of Russia. The team is the winner of numerous other awards and trophies. Spartak Moscow FC finished 10th in the 2021/2022 season of the Russian Premier League (RPL), Tass reports.

Lukoil is also buying the 45,300-seat Otkritie Bank Arena in the Russian capital that hosted many of the 2018 World Cup matches and has been home to Spartak Moscow FC since it was built in 2014.

Otkritie Bank was one of Russia’s leading commercial banks but went bust in the 2018 mini-banking crisis and was taken over by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). It has since been restructured and has returned to profit. The CBR had intended to either sell it to a strategic investor or float the bank on the capital markets until the war started in Ukraine.