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Page last updated at 06:30 GMT, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 07:30 UK

Blackburn Rovers close to takeover deal

Blackburn lost 2-1 to Liverpool on Sunday
Blackburn lost 2-1 to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday

Blackburn say a takeover by the Venky's group, which would make Rovers the first Indian-owned Premier League club, is set to be completed in November.

The group, which specialises in poultry farming and pharmaceuticals, has held several meetings with Rovers and the Premier League.

Rovers chairman John Williams said both parties were "hopeful" the deal would be completed in November.

The club said detailed discussions had taken place with the Indian group.

Williams said there had been an extensive period of due diligence, where the club's finances are studied.

In a statement on the Blackburn website, Venky's chairperson Anuradha J Desai said: "We expect to be the first Indian company to acquire a Premier League team.

"We are particularly delighted that the team is Blackburn Rovers, with whom we believe we have many shared values and ambitions."

According to its website Venky's, formerly known as Western Hatcheries Ltd, was established in 1976, mainly to produce chicks for the poultry markets of north India.

It is a VH Group company that has diversified into manufacturing nutritional health products for humans, pet food and other healthcare products.

Products made by Venky's include chicken nuggets, chicken meatballs, kebabs, and Vienna sausages.

The VH Group was founded in 1971 and is based in the western state of Maharashtra.

Its flagship company is Venkateshwara Hatcheries, which it says was transformed from "a backyard activity into an organised, promising industry, ranking amongst the best in the world".


The Jack Walker Trust put Blackburn up for sale two years ago in the hope of attracting buyers willing to invest, but Venky's is the first company to have satisfied club chiefs about their future intentions.

Former Rovers striker Kevin Gallacher, who spent six years at Ewood Park, urged caution until the deal is completed.

"I always thought Blackburn would have plenty of coals in the fire but I won't really believe it until the ink's dry on the contract," the former Scotland international told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"We've seen it before with people celebrating that they're coming in to buy the club, offering Sam [Allardyce] £100m and then nothing prevails.

"It'd be great if it does happen in November. It'd give Sam time to sit down and think about the players he's really thought about over the last few months and know what he's going to be able to play ball with."

Speaking last week, Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce welcomed the prospect of a sale and new investment in the team.

"Investment is needed at every football club and investment here has dried up somewhat because of the club being up for sale," he said.

"We have a strong base at Rovers, a very good club which is run and managed very professionally indeed. Blackburn Rovers has a strong history and it could have a bright future, given the right sort of investment."

Blackburn are 17th, one place above the relegation places although only three points away from seventh, in a compressed Premier League with nine points from nine games.

In August, Blackburn said they held a "cordial and productive meeting" with Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed's company over a proposed takeover.

Bahrain-based Syed, owner of Western Gulf Advisory, said he was keen to buy the Lancashire club and would give Allardyce a transfer kitty of £100m.

However, a BBC Radio 5 live investigation revealed he had left a trail of unpaid debt in the UK.

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see also
Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn
24 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Blackburn confirm takeover talks
17 Aug 10 |  Blackburn
Rovers takeover man left UK debts
10 Sep 10 |  Business
Blackburn secure deal for Goulon
22 Oct 10 |  Blackburn

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