English Premier League (EPL) club Blackburn Rovers Football Club has confirmed that it is in talks with Pune-based poultry firm Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group for a sale. Blackburn Rovers said, in a statement, it “confirms that there have been detailed discussions regarding the sale of the club to the Indian based Venkys conglomerate.”
A deal is expected to be finalised by November. Various reports have suggested that Venky’s is likely to pay around £46 million (Rs 320 crore) for the takeover though the parties declined to comment on the financials of the transaction.
Venky’s will become the first Indian business house to own an EPL team while many have toyed with the idea of bidding for one. Most recently, Sahara Group, headed by Subrata Roy, had evinced an interest to buy Liverpool FC but later withdrew. Others like ADAG chairman Anil Ambani and the GMR Group were also earlier reported to be in talks for EPL clubs.
“A series of meetings, including discussions with the Premier League, have followed an extensive due diligence process. Both parties are hopeful that the transaction will be completed in November,” said Rovers’ Chairman John Williams.
“We expect to be the first Indian company to acquire a Premier League team and we are particularly delighted that the team is Blackburn Rovers, with whom we believe we have many shared values and ambitions,” said Venkys’ Chairperson Anuradha J. Desai.
Blackburn Rovers had debt of around £20 million ($31.65 million) while the turnover fell from £56.4 million ($89.25 million) to £50.9 million ($80.54 million) at the end of the last season.
The Premier League has the highest revenue of any football league in the world, with total club revenues of €2.326 billion ($3.235 billion) in 2008–09, and is the second most profitable after the German Bundesliga, according to Deloitte.
Earlier this month, New England Sports Ventures, an American sports investment company which owns Boston Red Sox, completed the acquisition of one of the top ranked clubs Liverpool FC for £300 million ($475 million).
Venky’s (India) Limited, formerly known as Western Hatcheries Limited, was established in 1976. The Rs 3,850-crore group also holds a stake in Lavasa, the planned hill city project which has recently filed for an IPO.
Blackburn Rovers was established in 1875 as a founding member of the Football League and is based in town of Blackburn, Lancashire. Bahrain-based Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed, who owns investment firm Western Gulf Advisory, was earlier in race to acquire Blackburn.