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EPL Club Manchester City Agrees To Takeover By Abu Dhabi Group
Published September 3, 2008
|Al-Fahim Part Of Group Acquiring
Majority Interest In Manchester City
SPENDING SPREE: Al-Fahim said that he would "not hesitate to spend [$356.9M] next summer if it was deemed necessary" (LONDON TIMES, 9/2). In London, James Ducker reports Manchester City is "weighing up a staggering" $239.2M offer for EPL club Manchester United MF Cristiano Ronaldo during the league's January transfer window. The offer would be "more than twice United's operating profits" for the '06-07 season (LONDON TIMES, 9/3). In Manchester, David Conn writes the "extraordinary acquisition ... looks to be launching the Premier League into yet another new financial era, in which more top clubs are likely to be bought as 'trophy brands' -- owned for the glory they reflect -- by the billionaire sheikhs of the Middle East" (Manchester GUARDIAN, 9/3).
A BROADER APPEAL: Al-Fahim, when asked why the group acquired Manchester City, said, "Big exposure for the group and for the city (Abu Dhabi). We want to create Abu Dhabi as the capital of sport and culture in the Middle East, to attract all the important events." In London, Matt Dickinson writes EPL clubs now are a "prized part of the business portfolio for Russians, Americans, Arabs and, no doubt before long, the Chinese" (LONDON TIMES, 9/3). England's Durham Univ. professor Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert, said, "The Manchester City investment is sending money abroad, but its purpose is very much about putting Abu Dhabi on the map" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/3). In London, Jim White writes the EPL now is "renowned across the world as providing an endless, English-speaking soap opera of sporting drama, its appeal arcing from Tokyo to Toronto." ADUG is "buying City to make money from it -- which is just as well. They are buying it as a giant calling card, a globally recognised hoarding to project commercials. ... Move over [Chelsea Owner] Roman Abramovich, the really rich kids are in town" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/3).
Group's Acquisition Of City Could Lead
To Other Middle Eastern Investors In EPL
A BIG CATCH: In London, Ian Herbert noted Al-Fahim is "certainly the man several Premier League clubs would dearly have liked to have had on board." Al-Fahim has been "approached about possible [10-25%] stakes" in EPL clubs Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United, though "discussions never took place." Al-Fahim: "Those possibilities have never gone anywhere. The only team and offer that grabbed my mind was Manchester City" (London INDEPENDENT, 9/2).