Egyptian investment fund acquires majority stake in "youngest team in Europe" FC Nordsjaelland in €100 million deal

20 January 2021

Mansour
Photo: PA Images Chairman and founder of Man Capital Mohamed Mansour, who becomes chairman of the board of Right To Dream, said his group had "long taken a close interest" in the group.

Man Capital, the UK-based investment arm of Mansour Group, has invested in the firm behind Danish first tier side FC Nordsjaelland, Right To Dream.

The British entrepreneur who founded Right To Dream, Tom Vernon, retains a stake in the firm to help accelerate its global expansion.

Emil Gjerding Nielson nielson@offthepitch.com

The UK-based investment arm of Mansour Group, a family-owned Egyptian conglomerate worth about €5.8 billion, has acquired a majority stake in the firm behind Danish first tier side FC Nordsjaelland (FCN), Right To Dream, in a €100 million transaction.

The investment by Man Capital has been made through Man Sports, who takes on a majority position in the group which says it "provides transformational life changing opportunities through sport and education for the next generation of leaders."

A variable shareholding structure that will depend on the success of the projects undertaken, Man Capital's position in the group will not fall below 70 per cent, but the investment is in both equity and capital, with €30 million going towards the creation of a Right To Dream academy in Egypt.

UK expansion

The partnership will also seek to explore UK opportunities at club and academy level, and expanding women's and girl's programmes across the organisation in part by establishing a new Egyptian pro women's team.

British entrepreneur Tom Vernon, who founded Right To Dream in 1999 and acquired a 97.4 per cent shareholding in FCN in 2015 for the reported price of €13.5 million, will remain the other significant shareholder and continue as chief executive officer of the firm.

Organisational changes

Tom Vernon continues as CEO of Right To Dream (RTD)


Mohamed Mansour becomes chairman of the RTD board


Loutfy Mansour becomes a board member of RTD


Mohammed Wasfy becomes managing director of RTD's Egypt academy


Pippa Grange becomes group chief culture officer


Jan Laursen is promoted chairman of FCN

"We had many people who would have liked to buy and invest in FCN on more basic commercial terms but the expansion of Right To Dream into Egypt and into the UK is what I'm most interested in," Tom Vernon tells offthepitch.com.

Vernon did not wish to disclose the price Man Capital has paid for part of his shareholding in Right To Dream.

Chairman and founder of Man Capital Mohamed Mansour, who becomes chairman of the board of Right To Dream, said his group had "long taken a close interest" in the group who also owns an academy in Ghana.

"We've been in a two-year discussion with the Mansours and one of the things that increased our confidence was that never at any point during our discussions with them did the implications of corona influence what they were saying, how they were acting, or their appetite for the model," Vernon says.

Talent monetisers

Man Capital, who was an early investor in Facebook, Airbnb, and Snowflake, last summer placed a guarantee on a €7.4 million loan Right To Dream took out with Danske Bank in order to pay back the club's former majority shareholder Allan K. Pedersen.

FC Nordsjaelland play their matches at the 10,300-seater Right To Dream Park in Farum located about 20 kilometres north of Denmark's capital, Copenhagen.

CIES Football Observatory branded the club as the "youngest team in Europe" for the third year in a row in 2020 when the average age of line-ups they had fielded in the season stood at 22.7 years. 

With turnover of €24.1 million (including transfer revenue) in the 2018/19 season, the club are among the country's biggest, though they pale in comparison to FC Copenhagen who had turnover of €112.1 million in the same year.

Known for their ability to develop players, the club have generated transfer fees in excess of €65 million over the past five years and recorded an EBITDA of €4.4 million and a pre-tax profit of €3.3 million in 2018/19.

Emre Mor became their record sale in 2016 when he was sold to Borussia Dortmund for €12 million.