Venky’s (Venkateshwara Hatcheries group) has completed the acquisition of English Premier League (EPL) club Blackburn Rovers. The company has paid £23 million for the acquisition of 133,981,201 shares (99.9% of total shares) in the Football club, at 17.17 pence per share, and have an open offer for the remaining 150 shares at the same price. Some details of the deal in the offer document here (pdf). The shares have been acquired by BRFC Investments Limited (a company indirectly wholly owned by the Jack Walker 1987 Settlement), which will been looking to sell the club for a while.
Venky’s will also take on the debt that the club owes, which is moderate (in comparison with some clubs) at £21m, as of June 30th 2010. PTI, however, quoting a company press release, says that £20 million were paid for the purchase of the club, and £16 million of debt has been taken on board. Venky’s has also invested £10 million into the club, and intends to invest another £5 million (probably for buying players in the upcoming transfer window).
Funding a Football club is expensive business, and for the year ended 30 June 2010, Blackburn Rovers reported a turnover of £57.8m, up from £50.9 million the previous year; loss for the club reduced to £1.9m, from £3.6 million the previous year.
Do read: ‘How do Blackburn Rovers stay afloat: A July 2010 post on Blackburn Rovers’ financial’s by Swiss Ramble.
Not many changes at Blackburn Rovers, though: the existing management team led by John Williams will continue unchanged. The club intends to target the Asian market (which is a significant viewer base for the EPL), according to a statement by VH Group joint MD Balaji Rao. VH has 26 registered subsidiaries in India, but also operates in 17 other markets, including Bangladesh, Vietnam, Brazil, South Africa and the Middle East, and is looking to operate in 25 countries within two years. In the offer document, Venky’s has said that they intend to continue at the clubs ground Ewood Park, and they do “not have any immediate intentions to dispose of or otherwise change the use of any material assets within the Blackburn Rovers portfolio.”
According to the offer document, Venky’s has given the following assurances to Blackburn Rovers:
(a) will commit funds on a consistent and systematic basis to future transfer and/or loan activity;
(b) intends to continue to support the existing management team and staff, and that it is committed to the future development of, and investment in, the Club’s academy and youth infrastructure;
(c) will continue to support, promote and extend the Club’s local community and CSR activities (VH and its subsidiaries have their own trust engaged in significant charitable work);
(d) will seek to extend the Blackburn Rovers name and brand into India, the rest of south-east Asia and beyond;
(e) will seek to develop and improve commercial performance across sponsorship, the Club’s kit deal and general merchandising activity;
(f) will seek to enhance the fan experience at Ewood Park itself on match days (and non match days) and to maximise season ticket sales and any remaining match day ticket sales; and
(g) intends to improve the Club’s media platforms (for example the Club’s TV channel) and to become more active in the social media space).
Erm…so I guess we can expect social media consultants to queue up outside the Venky’s offices in India, to help them set up twitter accounts, and a facebook fan page.