TOWN chairman Dean Hoyle has told fans there will be no “spending spree” following the sale of his Card Factory retail firm.
The Wakefield-based company, which has about 480 stores UK-wide, has been sold to London equity firm Charterhouse.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but financial commentators put the final selling price in excess of £350m.
Mr Hoyle, 43, who founded the Wakefield-based business with his wife Janet in 1997, declined to give details of the deal, but said: “The sale is an important milestone for the company in its development and it will provide a platform for future growth and success.
“I will maintain a role in the business as non-executive chairman.”
Regarding the impact on Town, Mr Hoyle said: “No doubt expectation levels will go through the roof as people speculate as to the financial implications for Huddersfield Town.
“Any thoughts of a new stadium, big transfers or wages spending sprees should be quickly dispelled. Everyone needs to keep their feet very firmly on the ground.
“This deal does not significantly change the way our business will be operated at all. Whether the sale had happened or not, the level of my backing for the club is unaffected.
“We are building to make Huddersfield Town a sustainable, viable business – not one even more reliant on me than it already is – it would be a step backwards and too high a risk for everyone concerned.”
Mr Hoyle went on: “The strategy, business principles and way we do business at Huddersfield Town in the ‘New Era’ started in November, 2008.
“This was then firmly established when the Huddersfield Town board changed and I became chairman in May, 2009. This again has continued since I became outright owner in early 2010.
“ Under my chairmanship and ownership we will continue to follow our already well-established plans.
Referring to Town’s hopes for promotion, Mr Hoyle said: “We are well-placed for the crucial games ahead and I am certainly looking forward to the run-in with anticipation and real belief that we can have a very successful end to the season.”
Charterhouse is thought to have beaten off competition from Permira, Cinven, Summit Partners and Warburg Pincus to seal the deal to buy one of Yorkshire’s fastest-growing companies.
Last October, Card Factory was ranked 238th with sales of £157m in the Sunday Times Top Track 250, which lists Britain’s biggest private companies.
In a golden year for the tycoon, Mr Hoyle was also named Retail and Consumer Products Entrepreneur of the Year at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards for 2009.
Mr Hoyle founded the Card Factory with his wife Janet in 1997 when they opened their first shop.
In December, 2006 the Hoyles sold a minority stake to LDC, the private equity house, a part of the Lloyds Banking Group.
Early last year, Card Factory took over 74 stores from rival card retailer Celebrations Group, which owned the Card Warehouse and Card Fair brands, after that business went into administration.
The Hoyles have built the high street business to embrace 480 stores – including ones at the Piazza and the Packhorse Centre in Huddersfield – and 4,500 staff serving more than 100m customers a year.
Its accounts showed turnover of £167m and profits of £29m in the year to 31 January, 2009.
LDC has also exited Card Factory as part of the deal.
Mr Hoyle acquired a 30% share in Huddersfield Town in April, 2008, when he became chairman-elect. He increased his stake to 70% in May, 2009, when he became chairman.
He became outright owner of Town last month.