Lottery winner Colin Weir has completed a takeover of Partick Thistle to become the majority shareholder.
Weir, who won £161m on the EuroMillions along with his ex-wife Christine in 2011, has made a commitment to gift the 55% shareholding directly to a fans group no later by March next year.
The 71-year-old – using his company Three Black Cats Ltd (TBC) – also acquired land at Firhill as part of the deal that was confirmed on Wednesday evening and has pledged to transfer its ownership back to the club within seven days.
This means that the main stand, known as the Colin Weir Stand, and the undeveloped land to the south of the ground known as “the bing” will revert back to full Thistle ownership after ten years.
Partick Thistle had been in discussions with a number of potential buyers, which included a consortium led by Barnsley co-chairman Paul Conway, but Weir stole a march and completed the takeover.
Weir had given his backing to fans group Thistle For Ever over a proposed takeover in September.
To allow fans time to get the preferred structure in place, with the support of the Thistle fanbase, the shares will initially be held by TBC then transferred no later than March 30, 2020.
TBC has no requirement for the purchase price of shares to be repaid, which means the new entity will start life debt-free, in line with the current status of the club.
Weir applauded the shareholders in both groups and thanked the fans who’ve helped him to date, saying: “I am grateful to the majority shareholding group and FDL for working with Three Black Cats to pave the way for the exciting prospect of fan ownership for Thistle.
“I will ensure that the trust they are placing in me is not misplaced.
“Thistle for Ever planted the thought of fan ownership as a real option in my mind. From there, TBC has taken the dream and is turning it in to a reality.
“But this has all happened quicker than anyone might have anticipated. That’s why I have offered a three to four month window for fans to get everything in place before handing over shares.
“They want to get it right and I want to be sure that when the new entity is operational, there is a structure that will allow for a smooth transfer of ownership.
“This is a major financial commitment on my part as fan owners will not need to repay a penny – but I believe this gives fan ownership the best possible start.
“There will be a further announcement about the members of the interim board and, subsequent to that, in relation to my funding of the Thistle Weir Youth Academy.
“Today is a great day for a club that means everything to me. I hope that fans can get behind this exciting development. They talk about Thistle being their club – and now it really will be.”
Weir will now form a new interim board, with Thistle naming Dr Charan Gill MBE, Ian Dodd, Alan Caldwell, Andrew Byron and John Penman as the other club directors during this period.
This board will focus on running the club over that period while, in parallel, TBC has asked that a separate working group be set up jointly by the PTFC Trust and Thistle For Ever to create the new entity that will be gifted the shareholding.
The lottery winner previously wiped out the club’s debt, funded its academy and was heavily involved in plans for a new training ground.
However in August, he withdrew his backing after a boardroom coup.
Three months on, following negotiations, he has taken control of the club.
Speaking on behalf of the majority shareholders group, chairman David Beattie added: “We are pleased that our hard work in recent months has resulted in today’s sale.
“Our aim has always been to secure the long-term future of the club and we have done this by selling our shares to a man whose support and love for this club is beyond question.
“Colin Weir undoubtedly has the best interests of Thistle at heart and, although there were alternatives, we believe that his plan to support fan ownership, with the right mix of experienced business people behind them offers the club a secure future.”