17 Oct 2018

News from the UK last week, included the extraordinary vote of Wimbledon Park golf members to accept a giant offer from the All England Tennis Club to take over their 73 acre property.

The golf club’s current 750 members are set to share in the £63.75M windfall, earning a cool £85,000 each after tax. Three years ago they were apparently offered around £25M from the tennis club. Given the golf club lease is set to expire in 2041, they were advised that this was a full and final offer, and that the land would be lost to golf anyway down the track if they voted to reject the buyout.

From the Guardian website:

 

Wimbledon’s ambitions of trebling its space for the high point of the tennis summer came down to old-fashioned pragmatism and money on Wednesday night as members of the adjoining golf club decided to share equally a £63.75m offer for their precious 73 acres.

The club will decide finally in December whether or not to accept the once-and-for-all bid by the All England Club, which owns the dwindling lease. As a Wimbledon member remarked: “This is their Brexit. They have to make a call one way or another – in or out.”

Annual membership at Wimbledon Park, after a joining fee of £3,000, costs up to £1,450, no hardship for the likes of Piers Morgan and Ant and Dec. But the delicious dilemma for all of them was an obvious one: take £85,000 each after tax and withdraw to a nine-hole course at the rear of the property, or maintain the status quo until the lease expires in 2041 – and blow £63.75m.

Mick Desmond, Wimbledon’s commercial and media director, said earlier in the day at a business summit in London: “We have a fantastic site but we would like to create a bigger site. We believe we would become a much bigger, more prestigious event by getting that land but also giving something back to the community. We obviously think it’s a very fair bid.”

Philip Brook, the All England Club chairman, said: “What we’ve been very clear with the golf club and their advisers is we’re not going to do this again. We’ve really pushed ourselves financially. There’s a lot of money on the table. It’s a declining asset because in 2041 the land reverts to the All England Club for free. This is money just to accelerate the process by 20 years.”

 

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Wimbledon Tennis / Golf

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