British businessman Ben Francis, CEO and majority owner of Gymshark, has ruled out buying Reading Football Club after reports had linked him to a takeoever
The Royals, currently in financial crisis under owner Dai Yongge, are in desperate need of new ownership, with Dai Yongge admitting last week that he is ‘100% committed to selling the club’.
Former Reading FC reporter Anthony Smith has been the latest to link the Gymshark owner with a move to buy the club.
Hearing Gymshark’s Ben Francis is on the verge of becoming the sole #readingfc owner. Name has been mentioned for a while in connection with William Storey and Genevra consortium, and I’m told a deal is almost done.
— Anthony Smith (@Smudgersport) January 21, 2024
However, any rumours were quickly put to bed by the Gymshark owner who replied to his tweet saying: “I’m sorry but this isn’t true. I’m a Villa fan through and through and wouldn’t have an involvement with any other club. Plus I’m far too busy at Gymshark! All the best I hope you can get everything sorted.”
I’m sorry but this isn’t true. I’m a Villa fan through and through and wouldn’t have an involvement with any other club. Plus I’m far too busy at Gymshark! All the best I hope you can get everything sorted 🙏🏼💪🏼
— Ben Francis MBE (@BenFrancis1992) January 21, 2024
Francis, 31, co-founded Gymshark in 2012 at 19 and has now built the brand into one of the most recognisable in the country to take his net worth into the billions and was recently revealed as the youngest billionaire in the UK.
The Royals are currently fighting to stay in League One, but are in the relegation zone at the moment.
After a 1-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic on Saturday, Ruben Selles’ side are in 21st position and four points adrift of safety.
Next up for Reading is a home clash with Derby County on Tuesday night as their fans wait intently on any news of a potential takeover.
In Reading’s last home match, thousands of fans stormed on the pitch to get their game with Port Vale abandoned in protest of owner Dai Yongge.
Royals boss Selles is also fighting to keep his team intact with the current owner keen on extracting value for some of the club’s most valuable assets.
Tom Holmes has already left on a pernament deal to join Luton Town for around £400,000, but returns on a loan deal with Reading for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, defender Nelson Abbey is close to sealing an exit from the club with Olympaicos interested in securing his signature.