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Norwich City: Delia Smith set to lose majority shareholding in club as Mark Attanasio increases stake

Delia Smith holding a Norwich City umbrellaDelia Smith and her husband Michael Wyn Jones have been majority shareholders at Norwich City for almost three decades

American businessman Mark Attanasio is set to increase his ownership stake in Norwich City and achieve parity with current majority shareholders Delia Smith and husband Michael Wynn Jones.

The Championship club has announced a shareholder meeting at Carrow Road on 2 October to ratify the deal.

Attanasio’s Norfolk group will attain 195,012 shares – drawing level with Smith and Wynn Jones’ 40% stake.

The Canaries expect a short meeting before making a further announcement.

UK regulatory body the Takeover Panel has agreed to waive a rule obliging the Norfolk group to make a mandatory offer to the holders of the remaining 20% of shares in the club, who include the Canaries Trust supporters’ group.

Milwaukee Brewers owner Attanasio, 65, was given approval to initially buy long-serving director Michael Foulger’s 15.9% stake at a meeting in September 2022.

Attanasio’s arrival was described as “a breath of fresh air” by Smith and Wynn Jones when he purchased Foulger’s stake, while the businessman called his involvement “really exciting” and said he had found the club and city “intoxicating”.

Smith and Wynn Jones first joined Norwich’s board in November 1996. The club has been promoted to the Premier League five times since then, but their longest spell in the top flight has been only three seasons.

Analysis – ‘Potential end of an era’

Rob Butler, BBC Radio Norfolk

This is a very significant moment for Norwich City Football Club as, after 27 years, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones may soon no longer be the club’s majority shareholders.

If, as expected, the allotment of shares goes ahead on 2 October, American millionaire Mark Attanasio and his group will match the 40% by the current club owners.

He’s already bought his way on to the club’s board and has an active role in the day-to-day running of the club. He attended his first Canaries’ away game recently when he saw the team draw 4-4 with Southampton, with his son Mike by his side.

It’s clear he wants a serious crack at English football.

Attanasio is already the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers Major League Baseball franchise, who are having a successful 2023 campaign.

He has been brought to Norfolk with Delia and Michael’s blessing – it’s evident that a succession plan is on their minds and this does feel like the potential end of an era at Carrow Road.

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