Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 10 No. 25


EPL side Queens Park Rangers secured a £15M ($23M) loan from Barclays Bank in Hong Kong last month, "charged against all the club's assets including Loftus Road, significantly borrowing for the first time" during Tony Fernandes' regime as majority owner, according to James Riach of the London GUARDIAN. Fernandes and his partners finalized the loan on March 18, "in agreement with QPR's remaining shareholders" -- the family of the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. All parties insist they "remain wholly committed to the club's short, medium and long-term objectives." Following QPR's "spending spree during the January transfer window," with deals for Loïc Rémy, £8M ($12.3M), and Chris Samba, £15M ($23M), "fears have grown that the club will face serious financial difficulty" if it is relegated to the Championship at the end of the season. Fernandes recently denied that QPR "would be crippled by relegation" and claimed that reported figures regarding Samba's wages, said to be in the region of £100,000 ($154,000) per week, "were wide of the mark." Last month he insisted QPR's spending needed to be "closely monitored and controlled" and the club said that the Barclays loan "could be the first step in a future relationship between the two parties" (GUARDIAN, 4/16).

PLAY FOR PAY: In London, Gary Jacob wrote QPR plan to "introduce incentivised contracts for new players in the summer to overhaul their finances." The club "will offer relatively low basic salaries" which will then be supplemented "by extra payments for appearances," and "possibly linked" to the club's finish. The club expects to be relegated this season and believe the contracts "will be easier to introduce in the npower Championship." The expected problem "will be to persuade players to accept the contracts and to avoid a division with those squad members on existing deals" (LONDON TIMES, 4/17).

CVC Capital Partners, private-equity owner of the car-racing marketing company Formula One, "is considering a takeover approach for Betfair," according to Anne-Sylvaine Chassany of the FINANCIAL TIMES. A person with knowledge of the matter said that "the buyout investor has not yet been in contact with the company’s board and is still in an early stage of assessing an approach." CVC said that "it never commented on market rumour or speculation." Betfair, started by entrepreneurs Ed Wray and Andrew Black, went public in Oct. '10 and "has since lost about half its value after regulatory uncertainties, especially across Europe, hindered the company’s international expansion." However, the shares "have climbed lately, fuelled by takeover speculation," closing at 699.5 pence on Friday, giving the company a market capitalization of £724.69M ($1.1B) (FT, 4/15).

Monaco head of state Prince Albert II "has expressed his confidence that the principality’s football club will prove successful as the French Football Federation prepares to hear its appeal against the French Football League’s decision to force the team to set up financial residence in France." The club’s base in the Mediterranean principality "allows it to benefit from the favourable tax laws in place there, rather than the far more stringent French laws" (SOCCEREX, 4/16). ... The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry is calling for ski boots to be included in the talks on a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union, which started in Brussels this week. Winter sports equipment companies are particularly eager to obtain the abolition of an import duty of 27% on ski boots in Japan (ISPO).