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Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Thursday, 10 March 2011

Watford receive takeover offer of 440,000


A takeover of Watford has moved a step closer after an offer of £440,000 was launched on the London Stock Exchange.

The club's parent company Watford Leisure Plc has received the bid from Watford FC Ltd, a company set up by surgeon Panos Thomas.

Thomas's company is being financed by entrepreneur Laurence Bassini, who will provide £3.5m of working capital should the bid succeed.

Watford FC Ltd was set up in January with the aim of buying the club.

The offer, which values the club at 1p per share, has been agreed by two of Watford Leisure Plc's biggest shareholders, Lord Ashcroft and Graham Simpson.

A 30-page statement on the stock exchange has outlined a number of extra proposals that, should the offer become unconditional, would be put in place.

As well as the £3.5m of working capital, which is designed to cover any shortfall for the rest of the financial year, they include keeping Graham Taylor as chairman, an intention to work with the current football management team, a timeline for the completion of work on the Vicarage road stadium and a restructuring of £10m of loans due in July to be paid over five years.

The statement added that chairman Graham Taylor, chief executive Julian Winter and non-executive director Stuart Timperley believe the offer "merits consideration by Watford Leisure Shareholders".

Ashcroft's company Fordwat is Watford's largest shareholder, possessing just over 37% of the club's shares. Simpson owns 8.24% of the shares.

The Hornets came close to entering administration in December 2009 but were saved when Ashcroft paid £4.88m to settle a debt with the departing former chairman Jim Russo.

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