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May 27, 2009

Pompey: Takeover deal done with UAE billionaire

The man at the centre of the Manchester City takeover, Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, has had an offer to buy Portsmouth accepted.

Al Fahim was the initial figurehead of the Abu Dhabi United Group when they took control of the Eastlands club in the summer, but is no longer involved and has instead moved to make his own Premier League investment.

Reports from the United Arab Emirates suggest that Al Fahim has been in Rome with current Pompey owner Alexandre Gaydamak, discussing the deal.

The south coast club have confirmed that initial due diligence has been completed on the deal and are hopeful legal formalities can be finalised shortly.

An official statement on the club's website, www.portsmouthfc.co.uk, said: "Portsmouth FC can confirm that it has accepted an offer from Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim to buy the club.

"This follows initial due diligence and negotiations with Portsmouth executive chairman Peter Storrie on behalf of club owner Alexandre Gaydamak.

"A period of formal legal and financial due diligence will commence next week so that the transaction can be completed as soon as possible.''

Gaydamak has been looking for a buyer since December, when he announced that he was no longer able to devote sufficient time to the club.

Since then the club have endured a turbulent time, with Tony Adams being sacked as manager after only 16 league games - and just two wins - after replacing Harry Redknapp.

Youth coach Paul Hart was then asked to steer relegation-haunted Pompey to safety, a feat he managed in partnership with assistant Brian Kidd.

The pair's future has yet to be resolved, leaving Al Fahim the option of bringing in his own management team should the deal go through.

Al Fahim, who has previously featured in a reality TV series called The Hydra Executives, created a stir shortly after the Manchester City buyout last year, giving an interview in which he claimed the club would target the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo with their new-found wealth.

In the wake of those, and other, claims about City's plans, Al Fahim soon gave way to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who emerged as the driving force behind the deal.

Al Fahim ultimately dropped out of the picture at Eastlands, but the Dubai-born tycoon clearly did not lose his interest in English football.

Indeed, in January he was linked with a bold move for Chelsea, who are owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Al Fahim is chief executive of Abu Dhabi-based Hydra Properties but also chairs Falcon Equity, which is run by Holger Heims.

At the time Heims was quoted as saying: "We have looked before at some European clubs to see if the numbers added up, and now we are doing the same with Chelsea.''

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