What’s Going On With Celtic’s Swelling Share Price? Something … Or Nothing?

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One of the stories I think we’ve all been following in the background is that of Celtic’s rising share price. I’ve read a lot of speculation about what it might be, and I have to be honest that as interesting as I find it all I cannot claim to being able to make head nor tail of it.

I have only the most limited understanding of this stuff, and certainly not enough to be able to make a confident prediction on what this might be. David Low, whose opinions I respect enormously, doesn’t seem to think that this is much more than an adjustment in anticipation of some sort of positive financial report. He may be right.

I know more about what this is not than I do about what it is. So let me tell you what I understand it not to be before we think about alternative explanations.

First, this is not a natural statistical variance. The company share price has gone up 40%. That’s not a standard stock fluctuation.

Secondly, this is not a consequence of some coming big deal on sponsorship or merchandising; those aren’t up yet. They have a way to run. The merchandising contract is up, I think, at the end of the season to come so it’s too early for that to be making some big difference.

This doesn’t seem to be an imminent announcement on cash coming into the club via a commercial source, so we can probably rule that out.

This is not, as some are speculating, a reaction to the coming settlement of certain court cases, although I can sort of see why some might assume that.

Once this issue is settled that’s in the past and organisations which get out from under a court judgement usually do experience a rise in their share price; anyone who has ever seen Wall Street knows that Bud Fox makes his first killing due to inside information about the company his father is a union rep with.

But those cases are of no interest to most of the outside world except for those at Ibrox who obsess over every single detail. Not one of the reports about this which has been in the papers have affected the share price one iota up until now, because the markets understand that we won’t face major liability either way when this is covered by insurance.

(And don’t get me started on that subject; the only way that insurance would not cover this is if liability was legally established and it was proved that current directors had been involved in a crime. Not even the most rabid Sevconian has ever seriously suggested such a thing.)

There was some suggestion that it might have been due to the double and the automatic Champions League qualification; a lot of the rise fits in with that, but I can’t remember automatic qualification changing that in times past, and so I have my doubts that this is about that. It’s a significant rise, and I just don’t think the club share price has moved so much due to it.

Some speculate that it’s that and the Matt O’Riley deal combined. That deal isn’t done yet. There might not be a Matt O’Riley deal. So that’s speculative and the share price doesn’t climb more than 30% on the back of transfer market speculation.

The price hasn’t been this high in 23 years. The Record’s ignorant speculation is that this is caused by “the double winning season”. They even peeled £10 million off our estimated £40 million take for the Champions League, which I had a good laugh about. We’ve won trebles and not seen that rise. Double trebles. 3Treble. The Quadruple Treble. No increase like this.

In short, they have no idea and are too lazy to go and ask an expert.

A significant share purchase or sale would move the needle. Naturally. But we’re a PLC and that stuff would already be a matter of record. Could it be talks about a sale? Yes, but if it’s moving the share price then it’s significant enough and known enough to have leaked.

This is where what much of the online speculation is focussed on. That perhaps a major shareholder is ready to sell up to someone else, and that this has leaked and that the price is increasing as a result. But see, we’re not the club from Ibrox, who aren’t on any official exchange and who can, therefore, hide something like this … or manufacture stories about takeover bids without incurring any regulatory consequences.

It’s possible that there could be talks behind the scenes. But would enough have leaked to move the share price without alerting someone to write a story? It seems doubtful. As I said though, this isn’t anywhere near to being my area of expertise, or indeed anything I can speak on with any confidence. I know some basic stuff, enough to rule certain things out, but not enough to say with any certainty what it could be. No-one, to my knowledge, who owns a significant block of shares has expressed any interest in selling them … as I have lamented, there are people who think this club is their personal thing to pass down to the next generation, returning us to an era when we were a “family club” as opposed to being just a family club.

So I’m inclined to think that David Low might have it right; it’s not sexy, but it’s still a story. He says that experts believe that Celtic has long been undervalued and maybe this is Celtic finally rising towards a more realistic market capitalisation, based on strong returns, a healthy balance sheet, infrastructure spending and sustained success.

The things this board does right it does very right.

We are in rude financial health, and maybe this rise to a more realistic valuation does in fact signify no more than that. It’s also worth noting that the share price and the club’s valuation doesn’t actually put 30% more in the bank … so beware of any story in the mainstream media which tries to link this to the transfer kitty, that’s someone who either doesn’t have a clue what they are on about or someone trying to make trouble.

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  • Mr Smith says:

    Are you saying, insider trading is going on?

  • Brattbakk says:

    James, me and many others I’m sure read this blog for your honesty and it’s good to hear you acknowledge you don’t know what this means. I don’t know either but it seems like good news. A long time ago I heard DD was planning on selling the club and ever since then we’ve went from strength to strength in terms of the overall value of the club, maybe there’s something to that?

  • Zeddy says:

    I’ve been saying it for six months on this site and others.

    One of the explanations for not spending money is that they intend to sell it. It belongs to the shareholders. No one has commented.

    I think I repeated it last week. With champ league money, Matt O’Riely and seanon ticket monies we are looking at 150m in the bank with Club valuation. That’s a lot of dough.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Share and Shares alike…

    Just not any trophies or cash going in the direction of The Sevco Huns (O#%D F$RM) Pistol Pete !

  • Bob (original) says:

    Yes, on the face of it, there have been significantly more trades than normal

    since 14th June.

    However, they have been generally low volume / low value share trading,

    e.g. from £6 to £12,000.

    c.500K shares have been traded since 14th June.

    There are c.100M CFC ordinary shares issued.

    So, even if it was just one person / institution buying shares in all these trades,

    it’s still only c. 0.5% of the shares involved.

    You can guess at the reasons between a high number of low value trades

    pushing up the share price,

    but, for now, it’s immaterial to the share ownership structure pre-June 14th.

  • Bob (original) says:

    Bl00dy predictive text!

    * shares involved = shares issued

  • Eldraco says:

    Who is selling and who is buying ? As always follow that money and you find an answer.

    More like than not we have a leaky ship at mill

  • Gogs says:

    Funnily enough I was reading a financial article about 6 months ago and Celtic were mentioned as one of the well undervalued companies to invest in so I bought some more of our shares on the back of that.
    Don’t think there’s anything iffy going on although low volume trading doesn’t usually go with such a stock price rise.

  • Casey says:

    Bullish Thesis for Celtic plc (LSE:CCP, USOTC:CLTFF) as presented by the National Inflation Association (NIA)

    Celtic plc (LSE: CCP) or CLTFF has £67.327 million in net cash.

    CCP’s 19.45 hectares or 48.06 acres of land in Lennoxtown next to Lennox Castle that they acquired for £493,000 in June 2006 (no evidence of corruption was found) to build their Lennoxtown Training Centre had an estimated market value of £32.5 million at the time it was acquired. The Scotland “all properties” price index has increased by 58.02% between June 2006 and April 2024. NIA estimates that CCP’s 48.06 acres in Lennoxtown is currently worth £51.36 million.

    CCP’s 5.33 hectares or 13.17 acres of land at Westhorn near Celtic Park that they acquired for £675,000 in January 2008 (no evidence of corruption was found) had an estimated market value of £11.4 million at the time it was acquired. The Scotland “all properties” price index has increased by 37.54% between January 2008 and April 2024. NIA estimates that CCP’s 13.17 acres at Westhorn is currently worth £15.68 million.

    Since going public, CCP has invested a total of £83.127 million into Celtic Park upgrades and maintenance. NIA estimates that Celtic Park and its land is worth approximately £300 million. In comparison, the most similar MLB stadium to Celtic Park is Fenway Park. Forbes estimates that the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park is worth $1.156 billion or £906.67 million. Celtic Park’s capacity of 60,363 is 59.88% larger than Fenway Park’s capacity of 37,755. A valuation for Celtic Park of £300 million or less than one-third of Fenway Park’s valuation of £906.67 million when Celtic Park is 59.88% larger is a conservative estimate. On TripAdvisor, both Celtic Park and Fenway Park are ranked the #2 best thing to do in Glasgow and Boston, respectively. 90.73% of Celtic Park reviews are a perfect 5 stars vs. 76.21% of Fenway Park reviews a perfect 5 stars.

    NIA believes the Celtic FC brand is worth at least £200 million and if the Boston Celtics sell for $7-$8 billion like NIA predicts, the market could potentially value the Celtic FC brand significantly higher than our estimate of £200 million. CCP’s Adidas deal alone earned the company €34 million in 2023 with Celtic FC kit sales breaking out into Europe’s top 20 for the first time ever with a ranking of #17 out of all 1,100+ European football clubs. For comparison, Manchester City kit sales in 2023 were €73 million and it was recently estimated that the Manchester City brand is worth £1 billion. If demand for Celtic FC kits is equal to 46.58% of Manchester City kits a valuation for the Celtic FC brand of only 20% of Manchester City’s brand value of £1 billion is a conservative estimate.

    Transfermarkt estimates that the Celtic FC Men’s Squad has total value in the transfer market of €123 million or £104 million. They value Matt O’Riley at €20 million and many English Premier League teams are desperately trying to buy him from Celtic FC this summer. Many industry insiders believe that Celtic FC could receive a record breaking £30 million transfer fee for Matt O’Riley, which is much more than the Transfermarkt valuation estimate.

    One week ago, a Carlyle led investment group acquired National Women’s Soccer League’s Seattle Reign for $58 million for a valuation increase of 1,557% in the last five years from the $3.5 million they were previously acquired for in 2019. The Seattle Reign are terrible with a current record of 2 wins and 9 losses. CCP’s Celtic Women’s Football Club had a record this year of 26 wins and 2 losses and won the national championship! NIA is sure that the Celtic Women’s Football Club is worth an amount that is at least equal to the Seattle Reign of $58 million or £45.52 million and it is probably worth a lot more than that!

    How about we add this up…

    Net cash: £67.327 million, Lennoxtown Land: £51.36 million, Westhorn Land: £15.68 million, Celtic Park: £300 million, Celtic FC Brand: £200 million, Celtic FC Men’s Squad Total Transfer Market Value: £104 million, Celtic Women’s Football Club: £45.52 million.

    This values Celtic plc (LSE: CCP) at £783.89 million and CLTFF at $1 billion!

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