Newcastle Jets has today welcomed Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) announcement that it has completed a 100 per cent sale of the club to Ledman Group (Ledman), a leading high-tech LED signage manufacturer, operator and integrated sports business headquartered in Shenzhen, China.Since May 2015 Newcastle Jets has been under the ownership of FFA. During this time the club’s on and off field operations have been stabilised, while various connections with Newcastle’s business, football and community sectors have been re-established or made.
Mr Martin Lee, who is the major shareholder and chairman of Ledman - a company valued at over one billion Australian dollars - said his company is excited by the opportunity to invest in the Hyundai A-League with Newcastle Jets.
Indeed, Lee believes a sound platform for growth has been established over the past year, and intends to work closely with the club’s key stakeholders to help the Jets become a force in the Hyundai A-League and, in the longer term, Asia.
“We see a bright future for football across Asia and the Hyundai A-League is at the forefront as one of the top professional leagues in the region,” Lee said.
“The investment aligns with Ledman’s activities in several sectors of the sports industry and I’m excited by the potential of the club.
“Most of all, I understand that the Newcastle Jets are a very important part of the Newcastle community.
“I want to work closely with everyone in Newcastle, the members, fans and the local football community, to make this club the best it can be.
“In the coming months we will announce ways in which the community, and especially club members, can have a regular say in the running of the Jets. We will also announce a Board which will include a minimum of two local Directors.
“All existing agreements with Jets staff, sponsors, suppliers, and the community at large will be honoured in full following the formal handover from FFA to Ledman,” Lee concluded.
Ledman has also today announced that it has appointed former Central Coast Mariners Head Coach and Executive, Lawrie McKinna, as the club’s new Chief Executive Officer.
McKinna will replace current Newcastle Jets interim CEO, David Eland, when the ownership formally changes hands on or before Thursday 30 June 2016.
Eland, who is CEO at Northern New South Wales Football, was seconded by FFA to oversee Newcastle Jets operations in August last year, and has performed both roles simultaneously.
“I would like to recognise the role that David Eland has played in helping improve Newcastle Jets over the past year, and look forward to engaging with him during the upcoming transitional period,” McKinna said.
“David, alongside Jets staff and FFA, has readied the club for the next phase of its development. I am eager to work collaboratively and positively with him in his capacity as CEO at Northern NSW Football.
“I am excited to be taking up the challenge of administering one of the Hyundai A-League most unique clubs, and look forward to engaging in meaningful dialogue with Jets members and supporters soon as we seek to take the club from strength to strength.
“I was a player, albeit briefly, with Newcastle Breakers in the National Soccer League, and like many people have long recognised the enormous potential that exists for professional football in Newcastle.
“With Ledman’s backing combined with the continued support of our local and national stakeholders, I feel that we can build something big here in the Hunter,” McKinna concluded.
About Martin Lee and Ledman Group
Martin Lee is the chairman and majority shareholder of Ledman Group, a high- tech company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation exceeding A$1.6 billion.
The core business of the Ledman Group is manufacturing high-tech LED products, operating LED displays in sports stadia and mass transit infrastructure in more than 100 countries worldwide. This year, Ledman succeeded in the buyout of the business in Metro TV Media, covering 20 main cities in China.
Ledman Group is an official partner of the Chinese Super League and China League (Division Two) and has a strategic partnership with Chinese Football Association. Last year Ledman Group became a significant shareholder of Swiss-based Infront Sports and Media, the second biggest sports media company of the world.
In February 2016, Ledman became the official title sponsor of Portuguese Segunda Liga (Ledman Ligapro). Ledman Group owns a professional football club, Shenzhen Renren, with a stadium capacity of 40,000. Shenzhen City is the headquarters of Ledman Group, adjacent to Hong Kong with a population of 15 million and is known as the youngest and most dynamic city in Southern China.