By Anthony Onifade

22nd Mar, 2023 | 5:10pm

West Ham United shareholder Daniel Kretinsky makes latest powerplay in France club shares could be next

Daniel Kretinsky has further increased his stake in French retailer Fnac Darty and is now its majority shareholder, and he could do the same at West Ham United next.

The Czech billionaire currently owns 27% of the shares and has the option to complete a full buy-out at a set price, if David Sullivan and the family of the late David Gold were willing sellers.

It is understood that the businessman is interested in acquiring the shares of the late former West Ham joint-chairman Gold, who passed away in January.

Gold’s estate has a 25 per cent share of the east London club, whose biggest stakeholder is Sullivan – who remains on the board at the London Stadium and in day-to-day control of the club.

Football Insider reported on 20 March that Kretinsky has an active interest in increasing his stake in West Ham with a new £150million investment but it won’t be before the end of the season

The Czech’s current share places him as the second-highest shareholder at the club behind Sullivan and he has certainly made a powerplay to signify his intentions once again.

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According to Reuters [22 March], Kretinsky has further increased his stake in French retailer Fnac Darty (FNAC.PA) and is now its largest shareholder with a 25.03% stake. Vesa Equity Investment, Kretinsky’s investment vehicle, bought the shares on the market after it previously owned just over 20%.

Whatever message this update has sent to Sullivan about the Czech’s intentions is for the Hammers owner to decide but Kretinsky certainly seems serious about increasing his shares this summer.

There are reports that any takeover may be in jeopardy should the Hammers suffer relegation which could well damage the club’s position on the financial market and their ability to recruit top targets in the transfer window.

The 47-year-old businessman is also the owner of Czech club Sparta Prague and seems under no kind of pressure to increase his stake but his latest powerplay through the French retailer shows he is incredibly intent on providing the Hammers with the £150m injection and resources they need to challenge once again amongst the elite in the Premier League.

However, if West Ham don’t stay in the top flight they are likely to remain in stasis in terms of the ownership situation as enthusiasm to invest, from everyone, will suddenly dip and Sullivan will be left with the mess to fix on his own.

The future of this prestigious football club certainly hangs in the balance in the coming months.