Dortmund (AP) – The club bosses of Borussia Dortmund posed with obvious pride for the Frankfurt stock exchange. The bull on her side was decorated with a BVB fan scarf.

From today’s perspective, the photo taken 20 years ago looks more like a caricature. And the former statement of the then BVB director and aspiring pioneer Gerd Niebaum is meanwhile being ridiculed: “The time is right for the IPO. BVB is now one of the richest sports clubs in the world.”

One of his current successors on the board of Borussia, Thomas Treß, feels little need for a celebration for the anniversary – not only because of the ongoing Corona crisis. “I certainly wouldn’t qualify this date as a public holiday. The IPO was both a blessing and a curse,” said the chartered accountant twenty years later. He admits honestly: “My first reaction at the time was, I say that openly and honestly: what kind of nonsense is that?”

When Borussia became the first German football club to go public on October 31, 2000, there was skepticism. What Niebaum saw as an encouraging signal to potential followers, other clubs saw as a risk. Especially the first years, with a significant price drop, showed that the doubters were right – and had a deterrent effect. The issue price of 11 euros did not even survive the first trading day.

Management’s exuberant treatment with the 150 million euros that flowed into the club’s treasury from the IPO, contributed to the downward trend. Even winning the German Championship in 2002 did not lead to a significant upward trend. At the end of the Niebaum era, BVB was even a restructuring case. Only the benevolence of the creditors prevented them from going to the trustee in March 2005. At the last minute, subscribers to the Molsiris Stadium Fund at Düsseldorf Airport were able to avert the impending emergency landing.

Niebaum’s disastrous business policy made it difficult to create the stock price. And the difficult renovation of his successor Hans-Joachim Watzke did not initially lead to an upward trend. In 2009 the security even became a penny stock, as shares with a value of less than one euro are called up.

Only with the first sporting successes in the era of coach Jürgen Klopp did the stock look up. The 2011 and 2012 German championships and the 2013 Champions League final against FC Bayern captured the imagination of investors – and sparked investor interest.

Their entry into BVB and their acquisition of larger parcels of shares also contributed to the revitalization. Under Watzke’s leadership, a debt of approximately EUR 200 million was successfully reduced. Two years ago, the stock was now trading at around ten euros. They are currently worth about 4.20 euros.

The recent decline in the value of the stock has less to do with the sporting development of Borussia and more with the Corona crisis. In recent weeks, Borussia has again felt the pitfalls associated with an IPO that can be counterproductive for a football club.

As the Handelsblatt reported a few weeks ago, BVB is now even the target of so-called shortsellers. Accordingly, at least three hedge funds bet on the Bundesliga club’s share because of Corona at declining prices.

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