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Indian firm Venky\'s plan Blackburn takeover

26 października, 2010

Blackburn Rovers are in takeover talks with Indian company Venky\'s and hope to complete a sale next month, the Premier League side confirmed Tuesday.

Blackburn chairman John Williams said in a statement on the club\'s website that a series of meetings between officials from Rovers and Venky\'s had already taken place as well as an "extensive" due diligence process.

"Both parties are hopeful that the transaction will be completed in November," Williams confirmed.

Venky\'s chairperson Anuradha Desai said in the statement the company was looking forward to becoming the first Indian owners of a Premier League team.

"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," Desai said.

Venky\'s is established as Asia\'s largest poultry group and has an annual turnover of 1 billion pounds, last year recording a profit of 118 million pounds, according to reports in England.

The company is one of a number of firms which have gone through the process of due diligence and inspected Blackburn\'s accounts.

The Jack Walker Trust put Rovers up for sale two years ago in the hope of attracting buyers willing to invest in the club, but Venky\'s is the first company to have satisfied club chiefs about their intentions.

Rovers have been scouring the globe for a potential buyer for several months and manager Sam Allardyce last week said he was looking forward to the prospect of new investment into the team.

"The club has been for sale for some time and new investment would be most welcome," Allardyce said.

"Investment is needed at every football club and investment here has dried up somewhat because of the club being up for sale.

"We have a strong base at Rovers, a very good club which is run and managed very professionally indeed. Blackburn Rovers has a strong history and it could have a bright future given the right sort of investment."

Established in 1875, Blackburn were one of the founding members of the Football League.

They were also the last club from outside the established big four of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool to win the Premier League, lifting the title in 1995. They are currently lying just above the relegation zone in 17th place.

India may not be a top footballing nation, but its vast population and commercial potential makes it one of the biggest untapped markets for the sport.

Last year, Manchester United approached the Sahara group for a shirt sponsorship deal when the club\'s four-year 100 million dollar deal with AIG drew to a close.

Sahara, which sponsors the Indian cricket team, is a group with interests from financial services to real estate. The deal did not work out.

Sahara, headed by Subrata Roy, and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani were later reported to be bidding to buy Liverpool before both pulled out.

Before Venky\'s came on the scene, little-known Indian entrepreneur Ahasan Ali Syed had also bid for Blackburn.

The Premier League is followed with keen interest in India where matches are beamed live.