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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 12:13 UK

Canaries could cost Cullum 56m

Peter Cullum
Peter Cullum appeared on the BBC's Working Lunch in 2005

Insurance billionaire businessman Peter Cullum has been handed a 56m price tag to take control of Norwich City.

The 57-year-old made an informal offer last October which would keep joint majority shareholder Delia Smith on board as the "figurehead and icon".

But Norwich say that offer is not "financially viable".

A club statement read: "Someone seeking to take control of the club and at the same time invest 20m in the playing squad would take a minimum of 56m."

Cullum, who was born and raised in Norfolk and educated in the city, has said he is willing to pump 20m into the club's transfer pot.

But he wants to become the club's majority shareholder, while keeping Smith as a club figurehead.

"I don't believe I can ever make money out of a football club," he said. "This is about passion and love for the club.

"I don't want to be the front person for the football club - that's Delia. I don't want fame and publicity."

The lifelong Canaries supporter has built a personal fortune estimated at 1.7bn since founding the Towergate Partnership in 1997.

Cullum claims to have first approached the Canaries' board in October 2007, when the club was rooted at the bottom of the Championship.

At the time his offer of 5m to fund immediate player acquisitions, with 15m to follow, was rejected after a "friendly arm-wrestle over the club's valuation".

Cullum says the offer still stands. And the club statement issued by Norwich on Tuesday morning suggests there is room for manoeuvre between the two parties.

"When evaluating any potential investment in Norwich City FC we look at the individual, we look at what they want to achieve and we look at the financial viability of their proposition." it read.

"The figure includes 16m to buy up shares at the current issue price of 30 each, 16m to pay off the club's bank debt, which would be called in if a takeover went through, and 4m to repay loans from directors."


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