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Indian entrepreneur lining up 25m takeover of Blackburn Rovers FC

Fri 11th Jun 2010 | Clubs Ownership

An Indian entrepreneur is close to completing a £25 million takeover of Blackburn Rovers football Club after targeting the Lancashire club on account of the town’s large Asian population according to the Times newspaper.

The board at Blackburn have apparently given Saurin Shah, little known outside his home city of Mumbai, permission to begin the due diligence process after several weeks of secret talks.

It is expected the deal will be complete by mid-July and to establish strong links not only with the town’s Indian population but also, more globally, with cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL), of which his uncle, Niranjan, is deputy chairman.

Shah approached brokers in London about buying a Barclays Premier League club in April and quickly settled upon Blackburn after learning that the town has a large Asian population as well as historical links to the textile industry. According to the 2001 Census, 14.3 per cent of Blackburn’s population is of Indian origin, with a further 11.5 per cent of Pakistani origin.

Shah’s vision, through his Qubic Sports investment vehicle, is to create strong links between Blackburn and the IPL, which would allow cross- marketing. India is regarded by many Premier League clubs as an area of huge potential growth and Shah believes that his links with the IPL would leave Blackburn well placed to secure a strong position in that market.

Negotiations are taking place through Rothschild, the investment bank, and Chris Nathaniel, the chief executive of NVA Entertainment. Shah, with Nathaniel, attended Blackburn’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Ewood Park last month as a guest and has persuaded the board of his willingness to invest in the playing squad and in the club’s infrastructure.

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