Ipswich Town: US equity company buys 40% stake for 'up to £105m'

US private equity firm Bright Path Sports Partners have bought a 40% stake in Championship club Ipswich Town at a cost of "up to £105 million".

As a result, majority shareholder ORG has reduced its stake from 90% to 50%.

Ipswich are third in the table and hoping to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

Chief executive Mark Ashton will continue to manage the day-to-day running of the club and said the deal further secured its long-term future.

He told the club website: "The investment will continue to support the club in both the medium and long term, with the biggest immediate use being to support a number of key infrastructure projects, including the significant redevelopment of the training ground at Playford Road."

The deal will result in Bright Path co-founder Jake Zahnow and Sam Simon, whose company are the primary funder, joining the board at Portman Road.

Zahnow said they had looked at teams all over the world for possible investment opportunities, but having held talks with Ipswich they "stopped looking".

He added: "Mark and the team at Ipswich have an in-depth knowledge and vast experience of running football clubs and we love the direction the club is moving in, while being excited for the future."

US investment fund ORG bought the club via a new company, Gamechanger 20, from previous owner Marcus Evans in April 2021.

"When we purchased Ipswich Town in 2021, we did so with the initial aim of restoring the club to the Championship and becoming competitive at this level, with the plan always including bringing a partner on board when the time was right," said ORG principal Ed Schwartz.

"The club's progress means we feel that time is now and we are excited to welcome Bright Path Sports.

"Alongside the continued day-to-day leadership of Mark Ashton, who we are delighted has further committed his future to the club, we look forward to Bright Path bringing significant value to Ipswich Town in the coming years."

Ipswich Town were founded in 1878 and moved to their Portman Road home six years later
Ipswich Town were founded in 1878 and moved to their Portman Road home six years later

At the time of the ORG takeover, Americans Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer bought 5% of Gamechanger through their Three Lions fund, with Evans still owning the remaining 5% of the club.

A club statement said, however, that Three Lions has also "significantly increased" its investment as part of the new deal, with Ashton joining the Gamechanger board.

"We are delighted Bright Path have committed capital to the Club alongside the additional funds we have invested," said Bakay, a Town director.

"The start of our journey at Ipswich has been an incredible one and we look forward to continuing it alongside our new partners."

Ipswich have been on a high since last season's promotion from League One under former Manchester United coach Kieran McKenna.

They are just one point behind Leeds United and Leicester City, who currently occupy the two automatic promotion places in the Championship, with eight games still to play.

McKenna's side will return to action following the international break with an away game at Blackburn Rovers on 29 March, followed by a home match against fourth-placed Southampton on Easter Monday, 1 April.