Monday, September 01, 2008

Takeover confirmed

This caught me completely by surprise this morning as the first I heard was a phone call from my brother to say we had been sold to Arab investors.

It now turns out that talks have been underway for around three weeks for them to gain control of the club - despite Thaksin's previous approach (via Garry Cook) that it was only additional investment he was seeking, not a full takeover.

For whatever reason though, Thaksin has decided to divest himself of the club and given the way his tenure has panned out over the past 13 months or so, there won't be too many tears shed at his departure given his recent political and legal woes that have cast a huge shadow over the club and threatened the future progress.

It is a remarkably quick chain of events, but the club have confirmed a period of due dilligence will now be entered and and the new owners have been quick to outline their very lofty ambitions.

Although no price for the club has been mentioned, the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) - profiled on the, are believed to be an investment group specifically set up with the aim of purchasing the club. They are believed to be seriously rich with Abu Dhabi holding approximately 10% of the worlds oil reserves.

Initial reports suggest that they are not looking to make wholesale changes at the club, and believed to have given their backing to Mark Hughes over personnel matters.

At board level, the group will have one representative - Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, who was profiled on, where he was described as 'a one man publicity machine' and likened to 'Donald Trump'.

Some stories suggested that Thaksin would remain on the board, but a likely nominal title of Honorary President is a more likely option.

It's still quite early to digest the whole news, but the fact that the Thaksin regime is no longer is surely a positive for the club as a whole, and the new owners appear to tick the right boxes.

The danger of course is that the intentions of the new owners may not be known and having being bitten by Thaksin, there is a wariness about being takeover, but on face value it is an undoubted positive with the potential of a huge injection of investment being made available - and at the very least, the off field distractions that came with Thaksin hopefully a thing of the past.

vote it up!

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