Portugal: Benfica SAD shares reach historical high of €5.12

Benfica shares gained 12.9% on Wednesday on Euronext Lisbon to €4.90, reaching a historic high of €5.12 this morning.

By 10 a.m., share trading had reached over 50,000 transactions.

Driving the shares of the public limited company is the possibility of the club exercising the right of first refusal on the shares of Luís Filipe Vieira. On Tuesday, the former president communicated to the Securities and Exchange Commission (CMVM) the proposal to sell the 753,615 shares he owns, at €7.80 per share, representing 3.28% of Benfica SAD’s share capital, which is equivalent to a cash inflow of €5,878,197.

“Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, informs […] that it has been informed by Sport Lisboa e Benfica that this entity has received from Luís Filipe Ferreira Vieira a communication to exercise pre-emptive rights concerning the possible transmission of 753,615 shares representing 3.28% of the capital of Benfica SAD which he owns,” the CMVM note said.

The entity also said that the potential acquirer is not identified in the aforementioned communication, it is mentioned that the proposed acquisition is €7.80 per share (corresponding to an overall value of €5,878,197) and that the exercise or not of the right of preference should be communicated until the end of 15 September 2021.

“No further information about the potential sale is included in the communication. Benfica SAD also informs that it does not know any decision by Sport Lisboa e Benfica in this regard,” he said.

Luis Filipe Vieira was one of four detained in early July in an investigation involving deals and financing of over €100 million, with losses to the state, Benfica SAD and Novo Banco and is indicted for abuse of trust, qualified swindle, falsification of documents, money laundering, tax fraud and abuse of information.

The former president initially suspended his duties at Benfica but eventually resigned on 15 July and was replaced by Rui Costa.

The majority of the capital of Benfica (63.65%) is held by the club (40%) and Benfica SGPS (23.65%), with Luís Filipe Vieira holding 3.28% of the SAD’s shares, over which Benfica has a pre-emptive right.

Out of the 66.93% attributable to the club, 16.33% are held by businessman José António dos Santos, owner of the Valouro and the largest individual shareholder in the Benfica structure. In comparison, 3.73% are held by José da Conceição Guilherme and 2% by Quinta de Jugais.

Last July, José António dos Santos agreed to sell 25% of the SAD’s share capital to the North American John Textor.

José António dos Santos conditioned the payment until 15 September of the total price agreed, having been advanced the amount of €1 million.

The club’s board said it was unaware of this contract and promised to oppose the deal if this operation is considered at a general meeting of shareholders.

In a statement published on the official website, Benfica governing bodies reiterate that they were absolutely unaware of the existence of negotiations that led to the signing of an agreement to purchase 25% of Benfica SAD’s capital between private shareholder José António dos Santos and investor John Textor, stressing that they only found out about this agreement when it was reported to the public and that even then they are unaware of its content.

The club’s management recalled its condition as holder of category A shares and, consequently, its capacity to veto the acquisition of shares, under the terms of the SAD statutes, if it believes that the acquisition of a qualified holding by a competing entity is at stake.