It is the final break in the strained relationship between Hertha BSC and investor Lars Windhorst. After the recent scandal surrounding an alleged campaign by an Israeli security company, the investor wants to end its cooperation with the Bundesliga soccer team.
Windhorst offers the capital club to buy back the shares purchased for 374 million euros. In a statement made available to the German Press Agency, Windhorst judged that current President Kay Bernstein was "clearly not interested in trusting and serious cooperation". There is no basis and no perspective anymore, wrote the investor who joined Hertha in 2019 with his Tennor Group.
It is unclear how the Berliners will continue. A repurchase of Windhorst's shares should not be financially feasible for Hertha. It seems unlikely that Windhorst will find another buyer for the price.
Hertha speaks up
Hertha BSC rejected Windhorst's allegations, which the investor had previously cited as reasons for ending the collaboration. "Hertha BSC, Kay Bernstein or any other representative of the club have never made any public statements against Lars Windhorst or Tennor in a prejudiced manner," the club said in a statement. "Hertha BSC is offering to assist Tennor in finding a buyer in an orderly investor process in the best interests of Hertha BSC and Tennor's investors and creditors."
Hertha asked the 45-year-old for a written statement about the affair and also had the cause checked by a law firm. The club said that Tennor's request for a face-to-face meeting with Bernstein and the chairman of the board, Klaus Brüggemann, had been granted. Another meeting has also been arranged. "Lars Windhorst's Facebook post from this afternoon does not correspond to what was discussed and agreed. The other allegations made in it are incorrect," the message said. Since Bernstein's election in the summer, there has been a regular appointment to coordinate strategy and topics with Tennor.
Since the election of Bernstein in the summer, as an ex-ultra not a natural friend of investors in football, there had been a truce between the club and Windhorst. Until explosive media reports appeared last Thursday: The investor is said to have initiated a campaign against Bernstein's predecessor and Windhorst's opponent Werner Gegenbauer via an Israeli agency. Windhorst dismissed this as nonsense.
Hertha asked the 45-year-old for a written statement the next day and also had the cause checked by a law firm. Much to Windhorst's displeasure: "Instead of working with us to clarify the matter, President Bernstein decided to join the preliminary convictions without examining the evidence," he described the approach of the new club management from his point of view. In a conversation with them, the President named "the break with Tennor" as the goal of his activities.
Under these conditions, further cooperation for the benefit of Hertha BSC is ruled out, economic and sporting goals cannot be achieved in this way, "and the essential basis of our commitment to Hertha BSC has been destroyed". That's why he will end his involvement with Hertha and officially offer the club "to buy back our majority stake of 64.7% at the purchase price at the time".
evening board meeting
As the “Spiegel” reported, the Hertha executive committee wants to decide on Wednesday evening whether Windhorst should be excluded from the club. The club pointed out that they generally do not comment on the content of the regular meetings in advance. If Windhorst were to be excluded from the association, the Berlin association court would decide if the presidium applied. Exclusion would not change Tennor's status as a shareholder.
Since joining the Bundesliga, Windhorst has invested a one-time sum of 374 million in the club through his Tennor group. The money, most of which has now been used up, went into transfers, paying off debt and surviving the Corona crisis. In terms of sport, this did not have a positive impact: class warfare reality instead of big city club dreams. Even now, the gap to 16th place is just two points despite encouraging performances by the team.
In addition, there were always differences between the investor and the club: sometimes it was about the punctuality of payments, sometimes about the feud between Windhorst and Gegenbauer, sometimes about the appointment of Jürgen Klinsmann as coach. Hertha didn't rest until the summer - now, after just a few months of breather, she's back for the time being.