LAW firm Freehills has advised the Tinkler Sports Group on the privatisation of the Newcastle Knights rugby league club.
The sports group and Newcastle Knights officials met yesterday to begin the process of handing over the club.
Tinkler Sports Group executive chairman Ken Edwards and chief executive Troy Palmer spent 90 minutes talking to chairman Rob Tew and board member Nick Dan, a partner at Bilbie Dan Solicitors, about what needed to happen before the billionaire Nathan Tinkler could assume control of the club, the Newcastle Herald reports.
The transaction was approved at a meeting of members of Newcastle Knights held last week by an overwhelming 97 per cent vote in favour and will involve a new not-for-profit company owned by Tinkler Sports Group acquiring the assets and operations of Newcastle Knights.
Tinkler Sports Group has also undertaken to underwrite at least $100 million in sponsorship commitment over 10 years.
The Freehills team was led by partners Sarah Kenny and Mark Crean, supported by senior associate Shing Lo, and solicitors Tracy Nau, Christopher Hill and Ksenia Belova.
Freehills partner Sarah Kenny said: "We are delighted with the overwhelming member vote in favour of the transaction and feel privileged to have assisted Tinkler Sports Group in achieving its objectives within a short timeframe."
Freehills partner Mark Crean said the transaction will ensure that the Newcastle Knights has the benefit of "stable ownership and financial security for at least 10 years which will benefit the rugby league team and its members".
Tinkler Sports Group is a sports management company which administers and develops sporting teams and events. The transaction will give Newcastle Knights the opportunity to restructure and resolve its current financial position, increase the existing committed revenue derived from sponsorship and corporate hospitality, and increase the annual spend on junior rugby league development, National Youth Competition and Newcastle Rugby League.