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Wests Tigers Chairman plays down Benny Elias' chances of takeover bid


Wests Tigers Chairman Lee Hagipantelis has downplayed the chances of club great Benny Elias buying a majority stake in the joint venture club.

Reports last week emerged that Elias and a financially backed consortium were plotting to purchase a 50.5% share in the Wests Tigers for somewhere between 8 to 10 million dollars.

Currently, the Wests Tigers are owned by the Wests Magpies and the Balmain Tigers to the extent of 90% and 10% respectively. With Elias a club great of Balmain, it is believed he is aiming for his former club to have an equal say in operations.

Hagipantelis joined SEN 1170 Breakfast where he labelled the prospects of a takeover as "very slim" and stated that he was aware of the ‘secret’ meetings held between Elias and club powerbrokers.

“Well it’s interesting, because even as the Chair of the Wests Tigers, it's not a matter that strictly speaking concerns the Wests Tigers,” he said.

“The Wests Tigers, as is publicly known, is owned by shareholders.

“The shareholders being the Wests Magpies and the Balmain Tigers to the extent of 90% and 10% respectively.

“So if someone was interested in purchasing the club, they would have to speak to the shareholders because they would be buying the shares of the shareholders that were held as ownership of the club."

The chairman admitted he had been informed about the meetings as a matter of professional courtesy by the Wests Magpies through West Ashfield League club CEO Simon Cook and Ben Elias.

“The discussions have been taking place as it’s been widely reported,” he said.

“I have been informed as a matter of professional courtesy by both the Wests Magpies through the CEO of West Ashfield, Simon Cook and by Benny.

“I’m very grateful for that courtesy.

“But so far as the Wests Tigers is concerned, it’s a matter that concerns shareholders only.

“However having said that, I take on board the public comments of Mr Cook that Wests Magpies are flattered at the interest but the Wests Tigers are not for sale.

“So I would think that the prospects of the Wests Tigers being sold are very, very slim indeed.”

The Tigers snapped a four-game losing streak against the Dragons in Round 8 and will look to build on that momentum when they host the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday.

Listen to the interview with Lee Hagipentelis here:

Wests Tigers

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