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Aug 4, 2010

Indian entrepreneur launches Blackburn takeover bid

Blackburn Rovers could be the latest Premier League club to fall into the hands of foreign owners, as Indian entrepreneur Ahasan Ali Syed has reportedly launched a £300 million bid to takeover the former Premier League champions.

Allardyce on Blackburn takeover

• Blog: Takeover deal or no deal?

Syed is the head of Bahrain-Swiss based investment firm Western Gulf Advisory and has singled out Blackburn because of the club's potential for growth, according to a report in the Telegraph on Wednesday.

Blackburn won the Premier League in 1994-95 thanks to huge financial backing from Jack Walker, their much-loved former owner who died in 2000.

And while the Walker estate has continued to retain control over the club, funds have recently been drying up and chairman John Williams has been actively seeking a buyer for the club for the past two years.

Williams revealed on Wednesday: "There have been a number of interested parties for some time and discussions are ongoing.''

Syed may well fit the bill and has reportedly made a formal approach to the club's financial advisers, Rothschild, offering to buy the club, pay off their outstanding debt and invest in the team.

Originally from Hyderabad, Syed can trace his wealth back to the East India Company and is planning on using family funds channelled through Western Gulf Advisory (WGA) - believed to have assets close to £8 billion - to finance a takeover at Blackburn.

A sale could be completed as early a September, with Syed confident that he can transform Rovers from Premier League mediocrity into potential title challengers again.

WGA have a non-disclosure agreement about the talks but a company spokeswoman told The Sport Briefing: "I can confirm that we made a formal approach to buy Blackburn Rovers.''

He would start by clearing the debts of around £20 million, and around £300 million would then be available to improve the club's infrastructure in the long-term, as well as providing a sizeable transfer kitty to manager Sam Allardyce.

But Syed's approach is likely to be more considered than that of Manchester City's Abu Shabi owners, with the Indian entrepreneur not looking to immediately splash the cash on superstars, but build up a team capable of competing for top honours in the future.

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