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SBD Global/February 8, 2013/Franchises

Portsmouth Administrators Confirm Former Football League Chair Keith Harris Bid

Administrators of League One Portsmouth said that "another offer has been made for the stricken club," according to the BBC. Accountants PKF said that former Football League Chair Keith Harris, investment banker Pascal Najadi and investor Alan Hitchins "have made the bid." The Pompey Supporters' Trust are PKF's "preferred bidders of the club." A PKF statement said, "We believe this offer is worthy of consideration and could be completed without the need for a court case." The statement added: "Keith Harris has indicated that he would like to meet with the PST to discuss a stakeholding and participation in the club going forward." Harris, who was part of the failed ManU bid by the Red Knights, has "brokered a number of takeover deals in football" including Randy Lerner's purchase of EPL Aston Villa. Harris is "proposing to become the club's new chairman" with former Swansea City Chair Steve Hamer appointed as managing director and John Redgate CFO (BBC, 2/7).

HARRIS EXCITED: In London, David Conn reported if Harris' bid succeeds, he said that he will leave his investment bank, Seymour Pierce, and "become the Portsmouth chairman." The bid's financial backers are Malaysian investment banker Pascal Najadi and Alan Hitchins, who is described as "a professional investor." Harris said that the men "are paying cash to buy Portsmouth." Harris: "I am really excited by this; it is the best opportunity to own a football club I have seen in years, and the fans are amazing. This club deserves to be owned by guys who love football." The PST "will be bitterly disappointed." One of its major concerns, beside the fact that it would "thwart mutual supporter ownership," is that Harris's bid will initially leave Portsmouth as "tenants of the ground." Under the deal proposed to the administrator, Fratton Park will be handed back to Portsmouth's previous owner, Hong Kong-based Balram Chainrai. Harris has agreed to a deal with Chainrai for Portsmouth to rent Fratton Park from Portpin, with an option to buy it outright, which Harris said that he "intends to do quickly after taking ownership of the club, although he will not commit yet to a firm date" (GUARDIAN, 2/7).
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