After 16 years under Brian Kennedy’s control, Sale Sharks has today been acquired by CorpAcq Ltd.
Brian Kennedy commented "The last 16 years at the helm of this great club has been a great privilege. We have had many wonderful moments’ particularly winning two European trophies and The Premiership championship for the first time in the clubs history. I would like to thank our remarkable employees, players and coaches over the years with particular mention of Dave Swanton, Lisa Robinson, Paul Smith, Alan Blease, Robbie Dickson, Pete Anglesea and of course Steve Diamond. These folks were with me pretty much from day one and have proved to be the foundation of the club and I’m sure will go on to support the new owners with the same dedication shown to me. I would also like to thank our sponsors over the years and the Premiership Rugby team who have grown the game centrally to the current dynamic level. My son Jonny Kennedy has in the last couple of years worked tremendously well with the coaching team in recruiting our strongest squad for many years and driving the commercial activities to create a business that is self-sustainable with a first class academy developing organic talent in the North West. Finally, I thank the supporters and the supporters club for the tremendous backing and dignified support they have given to our club, and to me personally, over the years through good times and difficult times. My business partner Ian Blackhurst and myself now hand the club over debt free and in healthy order to Simon Orange and his substantial business group CorpAcq. We are confident Simon and his team have the right credentials, energy and passion to take the club to the next level and we wish them and the club the greatest of success in the future."
CorpAcq is a Manchester based corporate acquisitions and investment company controlled by Simon Orange. Its stated objectives are:
- To acquire successful companies with existing quality management teams in place who can continue to run the businesses.
- To help unlock business potential with management support and financing.
- To increase return for all stakeholders.
CorpAcq aims to build on Sale’s success in the Premiership and is targeting a top spot. They will invest into the senior squad as well as the academy and the commercial team.
Simon Orange commented: "Sale have performed resiliently over the past 16 years under the ownership of Brian Kennedy and now we believe we can build on this success and take Sale Sharks to another level. With our planned investment I think we can close the gap between Sale Sharks and the teams above us.
"We intend to establish Manchester as a Premiership rugby region. The academy is one of the best in the Premiership with 12 of our junior players involved with England at various age groups and three senior players, originally from our academy, called up to the full England training squad, and we plan further investment in order to strengthen it. Sale also have an award winning Community Service Program which we also intend to grow.
"I hope rugby fans from the region will support Sale Sharks and help us to build a dominant Northern Powerhouse both on and off the field."
Steve Diamond commented : "From the discussions I have had with Simon, I believe Sale Sharks has a very bright future. I am excited to be involved in the next steps for Sale as a team and a club. At a time when, for many reasons, Manchester and the North West is talked about, securing Premiership rugby in the region is really important for the national game. We want to grow this club and coming off the back of a good season is a great time to do it.
"I am sure all the players, coaches, sponsors and fans will want to wish Brian Kennedy and Ian Blackhurst well and thank them for their continued support during the last 16 years of ownership."