Swansea City owners not shown shareholders agreement, says Jason Levien

Huw Jenkins (left) with Jason Levien
Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins (left) stayed in his role after Jason Levien (right) and Steve Kaplan bought the club

Swansea City's owners say they were not shown the "shareholders' agreement" when they bought a controlling stake in the club last summer.

Swansea City Supporters' Trust considered legal action over the deal.

It claims it should have been consulted when Americans Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan secured 68% of shares.

Levien said the stakeholders who sold their shares, such as chairman Huw Jenkins, initially indicated there was no shareholders' agreement in place.

But having been made aware of the document's existence, Levien says he then asked to see it in order to discuss the matter with the Trust, who retained 21.1%.

One club director who sold his shares to Levien and Kaplan has told BBC Wales Sport he did not discuss the transaction with the Supporters' Trust.

A Swansea City spokesperson said: "As a club we have moved on from the takeover process."

Levien was speaking at a forum hosted by the Supporters' Trust, in which he and Kaplan answered questions from members.

"It was represented to us that there was no shareholders agreement at the time we came in to acquire the club," said Levien.

"We approached the shareholders to acquire their shares and when we did that, we were not aware of any other arrangements binding the parties.

"We had heard rumblings that there were different agreements between the parties, we had never seen a document and we asked to see it.

"As soon as the meeting was held with the Trust in March 2016, I met with the lawyers for the Trust and said 'Would you all be interested in us acquiring your shares as well?' I did ask that question and there were four months that went by before we completed the transaction."

Jason Levien (left) with Steve Kaplan
Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan's consortium spent around £75m on their controlling stake in Swansea City

The Supporters' Trust disputes Levien's account and says in a statement its first meeting with the majority shareholders took place on 9 April, 2016.

The statement reads: "Between that date and the completion of the sale in July, no offer was made for all, or part, of the Trust shareholding."

Levien and Kaplan have endured a difficult start to life at the Liberty Stadium, with the Swans' poor form earlier in the season prompting fans to turn on them and club directors.

Their relationship with the Trust was strained at first, with Trust members feeling they were not informed of the sale of shares at an early enough stage, and their efforts to increase their own holding to 25% were rebuffed.

However, their criticism was not just of Kaplan and Levien but of the previous board members who sold their shares to the Americans.

Relations between the owners, directors and fans have since improved, though Swansea still face an uncertain future on the field.

The Swans are in the Premier League relegation zone, 18th in the table and two points adrift of safety.

"The original shareholders that are still with the club, the new majority shareholders and the Supporters Trust are now looking and working to the future," a club spokesperson said.

"There is currently an excellent working relationship between all parties and the priority for everyone is to secure our Premier League status this season while continuing to build a strong, sustainable and successful football club that all Swansea City fans can be proud of for many years to come."

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