Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Investors inspect Blackburn books

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Ahsan Ali Syed has moved into pole position to take over Blackburn after his Western Gulf Advisory (WGA) investment vehicle was given a four-week period of exclusivity to check the club's accounts.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson, which looks after WGA's public relations, claimed in a statement released to The Sport Briefing that the Bahrain-Swiss investment company would sign a memorandum of understanding with Blackburn on Monday morning before beginning detailed due diligence.

Syed, an Indian businessman, has earmarked £300million to wrap up the acquisition, cover outstanding debts and "provide the necessary capital to buy new players and invest over the longer term so it can once again become a title contender".

The statement added that WGA would also "discuss the potential business and investment strategy including the transfer of new players" with Rovers chairman John Williams.

"For a period of four weeks, beginning on August 16, WGA will explore the financial situation of the club," read the statement. "Over this four-week period WGA has been granted exclusivity which means no other bidder can buy the club or look into Blackburn's books."

Jean-Claude Darmon, a key figure in French sports marketing for more than 40 years, has been brought in to advise WGA in negotiations. WGA confirmed last week that it had made a formal takeover approach for Blackburn after signing an initial non-disclosure agreement with the club`s advisers at investment bank Rothschild.

Blackburn officials have been keeping quiet on the identities of potential investors, although Rovers chief Williams said last week that there have been "a number of interested parties for some time". A number of consortia have contacted the Jack Walker Trustees over the last three years about a possible buy-out.

Ex-JJB Sports chief Chris Ronnie and another group based in Iceland have held talks with the club`s trustees, while another Indian entrepreneur, Saurin Shah, was widely reported to be closing in on a takeover as recently as June.

Syed, 36, is a lawyer who studied at the London School of Economics, and his company has recently diversified by making a number of investments in Australia and Europe.

According to its PR company, WGA "is targeting the UK for investments and it plans to invest a significant amount over 2010".

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