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Blackburn Rovers set for new Asian owners

The club from Lancashire appears set to be taken over by new owners. The new owners are an Indian group, called Venky’s, which is traditionally connected with pharmaceuticals and poultry. The Venky’s group has a £1 billion turnover and last reported a £118 million profit, for the financial year 2009/2010. Current Blackburn chairman John Williams has confirmed the process stating ”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.” Important figures at the Indian group have likewise confirmed the deal, explaining that due diligence and other financial necessities are currently taking places, and reasoned that all should be completed fairly quickly and rather soon.

The club is currently owned by the Jack Walker Trust, a trust established by the late Jack Walker and entrusted with the provision of the club. Jack Walker was previously the owner of the football club and guided the club to the Premiership title in the early nineties. At the time many others lamented that Jack Walker injected too much money into the English Premiership and he merely bought the league title. He financed the transfer deal for Alan Shearer that, at the time, was completed for a record £15 million. He would continue to subsidise the club for the rest of his tenure, often pouring plenty of his own money into the club to prevent the club succumbing to its debts. Upon his death the Jack Walker Trust continued his work of subsidising the club but in recent years the trust began to feel the pressure of competing in the English Premiership with ever increasing salaries and costs associated with the team. The Jack Walker Trust decided to put the club up for sale a couple of years ago and there have been numerous potential takeovers but all have failed to complete their moves. As recently as August a different Indian group was close to buying the club, which has £15 million debts, but the move fell through. This time, however, the deal is expected to be completed within a few weeks and both parties are speaking confidently about the likelihood of the due diligence satisfying the purchasers.

The new owners are not promising to pour money for transfers into the club although they have indicated that some transfer funds will be available. It appears the driving motive for the purchase is that the Indian group believes Asia offers plenty of room for growth for English football and the Premier League and that their expertise in the area will help the club realise greater income, thus eventually positive rewards for themselves as owners.