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Rift between Manly owners Scott Penn and Max Delmege may end in buy-out

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    By Brent Read
    February 14, 2009

    MANLY co-owner Scott Penn has raised the prospect of buying out partner Max Delmege in a bid to end the bitter board-room battle which threatens to split the premiers.

    Penn, who owns a 42 per cent share of the Sea Eagles, also raised the spectre of legal action against Delmege amid allegations the peninsula property developer had failed to meet contractual obligations to inject extra funds into the club.

    The finger-pointing between the co-owners came as the club's new major sponsor pledged its commitment to Penn and chief executive Grant Mayer, who has been caught in the middle of the club's ownership spat.

    Mayer told the club he would not seek an extension to his contract, which ends later this year, after the board voted 5-2 against offering him a new deal.

    While Mayer has the strong support of the Penn family, the remaining five members of the board, including Delmege's two representatives, opted not to back the chief executive at a meeting on Thursday night.

    The ownership imbroglio has been on the cards for several months as relations between the Penn and Delmege families have become increasingly tenuous.

    They reached their nadir on Thursday night, prompting Penn to suggest a resolution had to be found for the sake of the club.

    That could result in Penn diluting, or buying out, Delmege's 38 percent share in the Sea Eagles.

    The remaining 20 percent is held by the old football club.

    Sources suggested Delmege's share could be worth more than $3 million.

    "It really comes down to we're attempting to resolve it," Penn said.

    "If a resolution is not possible it may very well be that one party needs to buy the other party out. For us this is not purely a financial investment - it's an emotional investment.

    "It's never been about making a bundle of money.

    "In the last three years we have come so far so why would anybody want to walk away now."

    Delmege dismissed the prospect of selling his share.

    "I'd consider buying his, not selling mine," Delmege said.

    "At the end of the day I am for the people of Manly.

    "I'm not for these boardroom tiffs.

    "I care about the supporters.

    "That's all I care about."

    The threat of legal action also hangs over the club after Penn suggested the board would have to consider its position if financial obligations were not met.

    Delmege has poured more than $12 million into the Sea Eagles over the past seven years through a combination of sponsorship and investment, but Penn alleges that money has dried up.

    At the centre of the latest dispute is an agreement struck last year to inject an additional $1 million into the club - $500,000 apiece.

    Relations have also been soured by the collapse of a joint venture to purchase the embattled Manly-Warringah Leagues Club.

    "There's signed contracts," said Penn, who addressed the players Friday morning and also spoke to NRL chief executive David Gallop.

    "If people sign contracts and don't fulfil their commitments you need to protect the company.

    "As a board we have to take whatever measures are necessary to keep the company solvent.

    "The board has to do whatever it can to protect its position.

    "We have honoured every commitment asked of us.

    "We have told the facts and have never got personal.

    "All we want is to make the Sea Eagles the No1 team in the world.

    "If people aren't committed to that, and aren't prepared to back that financially, get off the bus."

    Delmege, who is considered a saint among Manly supporters after he rescued the club from near-death in 2004, dismissed the threat of legal action as a "silly comment".
  2. willstyles

    willstyles Active Member

    +4 /0
    If this is still truly the case for Delmege, then I think for the good of the club and the fans, it might be time for him to step aside. It might not be a popular thing for me to say given how revered he is amongst fans, but it is how I feel.

    Max's place in the history of the Manly club is assured. He will forever be remembered as the bloke who single-handedly saved our club from extinction.

    But I think the future of Manly is with the Penn family. And we cannot afford to have any friction at board level - the club will only move forward with one of the two power families stepping aside, and I think the best thing for the club would be for Max to move on. If he really is still viewing it as an emotional investment, and still has the clubs best interests at heart...then I see him downgrading his influence at Manly.
  3. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Too true
    Name a grandstand after him that may help
  4. Cletus

    Cletus Active Member

    +11 /0
    Since the vote was 5-2, who else had a problem with Mayer? I assume Delmege would only have 2-3 votes so there must be some other board members with an issue? Seems strange, win the premiership, looks like the sponsorship situation is going well and memberships will be sure to be up this year.
  5. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +516 /14
    It is incomprehensible that ANYONE would vote against Mayer if the criteria is his KPIs.  Therefore who is responsible for the boardroom tiff?
  6. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

    +85 /0
    How is it that Penn has more share (42%) but paid much less for them?
  7. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member

    +516 /0
    "He went to Knox", go ask Matabele.  These private school boys hang together.
  8. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member

    +215 /5
    Phillip Dean went to Riverview so that blows that thought out of the water. This is more than school tie and it isn't Rugby either.
  9. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Arthurson offers to mediate in Sea Eagles standoff

    Adrian Proszenko | February 15, 2009

    Manly godfather Ken Arthurson has offered to become a peacemaker between the warring factions threatening to tear the club apart.

    Political infighting has plunged the Sea Eagles into disarray, with club chairman Scott Penn threatening to sue major shareholder Max Delmege for money allegedly owed to the club.

    The crisis has engulfed the Sea Eagles just months after they won their first premiership in 11 years and threatens their preparation for the World Club Challenge against Leeds. Arthurson said the infighting had "torn the traditions of the club apart" and offered to help broker a ceasefire to prevent boardroom bloodshed at Brookvale.

    "We need to get everyone into the same room at the same time," Arthurson told The Sun-Herald.

    "We've got to get this ironed out once and for all and settle our differences, that's the only way to do it. I think the warring parties, if I can put it that way, will have to get together to resolve their issues.

    "Nobody has asked me to do it but any part I could play in effecting a truce or agreement between the parties, I'd certainly do it. I'm happy to sit down with everyone."

    News of Arthurson's potential involvement was welcomed yesterday by Scott and Rick Penn. Likewise, chief executive Grant Mayer, who was caught between the warring factions, backed the involvement of the former League boss. "Arko is absolutely the right man to come in and help out," he said.

    Some factions have spread rumours that the Eagles could again be forced to move to the Central Coast. Mayer vehemently rejected the suggestion.

    Delmege confirmed yesterday that a relatively small amount of money was outstanding - understood to be about $80,000 - but would be paid in due course.

    "We're talking about something that I already have contributed $12.5 million to," said Delmege.

    "It's ridiculous we're even talking about it."

    The property magnate said he would put personal issues behind him for the good of the club.
  10. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Delmege a Sea Eagle for life
    By James Hooper | February 15, 2009


    MAX Delmege is sitting in one of Sydney's most exclusive restaurants having lunch with his great mate Benny Elias.

    Laughing, joking, drinking.

    The property tycoon, whose estimated wealth is well over $200million, is supposedly broke. If only we could all be this unfortunate.

    In his right hand he swirls a glass of pinot grigio and orders the lobster. With his left hand he flashes The Sunday Telegraph a bank cheque for $500,000.

    This is the world of the charismatic Manly co-owner who carried the Sea Eagles from the rugby league scrapheap to 2008 premiers.

    But all is not well at Brookvale, with Sea Eagles co-owner Scott Penn making a power play to squeeze an unpaid $228,000 out of Delmege. Forget the fact he has pumped $15million into the club over the past eight years.
    Related Links

        * Cease fire: Concerned Athurson calls for peace

    Sitting in the swish city noshery Uccello, at Justin Hemmes' plush Ivy establishment, Delmege's phone doesn't stop ringing. Every reporter in town wants to know who is telling the truth. If Delmege was playing poker, you wouldn't call his bluff. One thing's for certain, this is a dirty game of cards. And make no mistake, it will end in blood.

    Judging by last Thursday night's boardroom brawl, Delmege has the numbers to survive. But his opponents - Scott and father Rick Penn, and Penn's uncle, Peter `Zorba' Peters - are coming on heavy.

    To try to get to the bottom of the standoff, The Sunday Telegraph offered to take Delmege to lunch.
    He wanted to pay - we insisted. For the record, Delmege said he is going nowhere.

    "No, I'm not broke. It's laughable. The fact I haven't paid a bill we incurred when we won the premiership is an accidental oversight,'' Delmege said.

    "I'm at Manly until the day I die. I'm disappointed our laundry is being aired in public and it certainly wasn't my decision.

    "I'll fix the problem next week. Then going forward, Manly will continue to prosper. I'm all about the people - the Sea Eagles supporters - not my pocket.

    "For me, it's never been about money. If it was, why would I have put $15million into the place? It's not about making a profit, it's about Manly being successful.

    "I can assure you this, I'm at Manly for the long haul and when I go, I want my boys to take over. I want the Delmege name associated with the Sea Eagles for life, and considering I'm engaged in a $250million development in North Sydney, I think I'm on track.''

    Pull up a seat, grab a knife, protect yourself. This is the scenario inside the northern peninsula board room.

    At last Thursday night's board meeting, Manly chief executive Grant Mayer chose to resign. The reason? Delmege had the numbers 5-2. Still does.

    Mayer has attempted to play peace maker by talking regularly with Manly Leagues club chairman Bob Riley. So far the olive branch has been rejected.

    The Penn's remain disappointed a $15million joint venture proposal with Delmege to redevelop Manly Leagues club has fallen through.

    Conspiracy theory 1

    Privately, some Manly insiders remain concerned Penn and father Rick may try to move the Sea Eagles to the Central Coast.

    Two years ago, the names Central Coast Eagles and Sunshine Coast Eagles were registered as internet names. The Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles was formed as a Queensland Cup side, where Manly can send fringe NRL players.

    The Central Coast name remains shrouded in mystery. Departing chief executive Mayer is adamant Manly will never move from the northern beaches.

    "There is absolutely no way we will ever move to the Central Coast.

    "The state and local governments have recently committed $10million to upgrading Brookvale Oval. We're going nowhere,'' Mayer said.

    Conspiracy theory 2

    After guiding the Sea Eagles to a grand final and then a premiership, coach Des Hasler should be signed for as long as he likes.

    Hasler's contract was the subject of debate for an hour at last Thursday's meeting. Incredibly, some directors only wanted to offer Hasler a one-year extension until the end of 2011.

    They argued Hasler needed key performance indicators written into his new deal. They want clauses so they can push him if things go south. It underlines the boardroom differences - and there's potentially more blood to come.

    Respected media manager Zorba Peters is in the cross hairs. Peters is Scott Penn's uncle. The Delmege clan perceive Peters to be too far aligned with his family.

    The Delmege clan want Kerry Sibraa to take the chair at the head of the table instead of Penn.
    But they need 75 per cent of the directors to punt Penn as chairman.

    At the moment the count is 5-2, making up a 72 per cent majority.

    So Penn will survive.

    "We didn't want this to become a slanging match and tried to keep it in-house for as long as we could,'' Penn said.

    Conspiracy theory 3

    There is talk Delmege wants Elias to take over from Mayer as chief executive. The champion Tigers hooker spat out his drink at the suggestion.

    "I'm a Balmain boy through and through and I'll always be a Balmain boy. No. No way,'' Elias said.

    Elias and Delmege do property deals together, not football. They are great friends. It was evident last Friday as they sat sipping white wine, laughing and enjoying each other's company. By 4pm, Elias had to go back to work for another meeting.

    Delmege, proudly wearing a Manly directors premiership ring, was still making good company. He rang his driver and asked him to be out front on George St at 7pm, then stayed until 7.30pm. Talk about a good lunch.

    What won't be so easy is the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring going on around the northern peninsula over the next month. This is personal, and the battle of Brookvale has only just begun.
  11. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member

    +516 /0
    KPIs.  Go scratch yourelf Matas.  I vote for Conspiracy no 1.
  12. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

    +170 /1
    Byso I have seen the answer to this question written in about 50,000 other threads, but you still dont seem to understand for some reason.

    The bulk of the money Delmege put in was SPONSORSHIP money, not shareholding.
  13. Cameron

    Cameron Cambo

    +669 /35
    Byso I have seen the answer to this question written in about 50,000 other threads, but you still dont seem to understand for some reason.

    The bulk of the money Delmege put in was SPONSORSHIP money, not shareholding.
    clon u should know by now byso like Ds are bit slow even backward one might say.
  14. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

    +972 /7
    Byso's question is legit. Someone can feel free to correct me but my understanding is that Penn has put in just over $2M and Max has put in approximately $4.25M, and this amount does NOT include any monies committed for sponsorship, jersey rights etc etc. which is in the vicinity of $8M.
  15. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

    +170 /1
    MB if the Penn's own the majority stake and Delmege has invested more, how could this be possible? Either the Penns are the most astute businessmen in corporate world or Max Delmege is extremely dumb.

    Name another company in the world where the major stakeholder has come in when a business is on the up and invested less than half the cash of someone who has less of a stake? It doesnt add up.
  16. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member

    +215 /5
    My guess is that this has a lot to do with some people trying to drag the club into the 21st Century, saying that certain things or people are not the best way to go. Others, with the ear of Max and some of the old timers are kicking and screaming.
  17. Dan

    Dan Kim Jong Dan Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +7,741 /120

    Delmege bought in about 1 or 2 years earlier than the Penns
  18. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

    +170 /1
    Exactly Dan.

    Since Delmege bought in, the value of the club would have only improved. So how is it possible for the Penns to have purchased the major share at half the price that Delmege invested 2 years earlier?

    Its not possible.
  19. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member

    +516 /0
    Smells of skullduggery Clon.  As I asked on another topic site; are the Penn's modern day carpetbaggers?  Did Mayer hitch his wagon to them?  maybe old man Delmege is a crafty old devil when it comes to cracking heads.  Who knows.  Are you going to the game at Telstra? 
  20. byso

    byso Well-Known Member

    +85 /0
    Thanks for making my question clearer for the "special" supporters of this site.

    42% 2 mill
    38% 4 mill

    Now Mata, Clon, Dan, CW and Cliffy GC can work out why the club didn't reveal how much Penn paid for the majority share!

    Maybe this has a little to do why Max is a little miffed with our private school boy empire builder.

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