Investors Enter Feeding Frenzy for Premiership Clubs
While the purchases of Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Portsmouth and Aston Villa are well documented, the question is what clubs are next that are ripe for a takeover? Arsenal’s buy-out by Stan Kroenke, to me, is inevitable. In fact, The Observer newspaper is reporting that a £650 million takeover is in the works.
Manchester City, meanwhile, is in the midst of a tussle between the former Thai prime minister and former player Ray Ranson who has tabled a £90 million bid for City. However, there have been strong rumors of an American investor interested in purchasing the club, so Ranson’s offer to City may force the hand of the mystery American so he can be revealed to us all.
Last weekend, I posted a poll and asked you which clubs you thought would be the next ones to be purchased by American investors. I made an educated guess and offered you the choice of Newcastle, Spurs, Reading, Everton and Fulham.
Little did I know that financial experts in London are predicting that between now and the end of the year, Newcastle, Reading and Fulham could be in the hands of American investors. The Observer didn’t mention Spurs or Everton. However, the second largest shareholder in Everton FC is English-born Florida resident (and Planet Hollywood founder) Robert Earl.
In January, US hedge fund Polygon called off talks with Newcastle United. Reading chairman John Madjeski has stated publicly that he’s seeking a buyer. With a passionate and affluent fan base, Reading could be purchased for a lot less than Manchester City, I believe. However, outside of Berkshire, Reading has a small loyal fan base. Sure, they have many admirers of their attacking style of play (myself included), but would you swear your allegiance and buy a Reading shirt?
By the end of 2007, what clubs will be left that haven’t been purchased by foreign investors? Middlesbrough, Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan… all clubs that aren’t as attractive as the high flyers in the league.