Date: 4th August 2010 at 9:07am
Written by:

Ahasan Ali Syed, head of Bahrain-Swiss based investment firm Western Gulf Advisory, has joined the race to buy Blackburn Rovers.

Ali Syed is big in the business world with WGA and has a more recognisable face than current interested party Saurin Shah.

There are numerous morning papers running with this story and the Daily telegraph stumps up the most information with regards Syed.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting – “WGA is thought to have £8 billion in assets under its control and recently took a 50 per cent stake in Irish builders McCabe in a strategic investment deal understood to be worth £300 million.

Syed, 36, is originally from Hyderabad and is the sole heir to the family business which traces its wealth to the East India Company. Educated at the London School of Economics, he is a qualified lawyer and maintains a string of racehorses in Bahrain. He divides his time between Bahrain and Switzerland.

He proposes to use personal family funds channelled through the firm to complete the takeover at Ewood Park, having singled Blackburn out because of their potential for growth.

Tellingly, Syed considered seeking a deal for more celebrated clubs and has looked at Liverpool, but considers Blackburn a closer fit with WGA’s investment model, which focuses on turning around well-run businesses and acting as an investment partner.

It is understood that Rothschilds, the investment bank, has alerted the club and the trustees of the late Jack Walker’s estate to Syed’s interest and they are understood to be interested in his approach.

Syed would like to conclude a deal in principle this month and complete the sale in September.

The club have effectively been for sale for two years after the Walker estate made clear that it was no longer in a position to underwrite the club indefinitely. Steel magnate Walker bankrolled the club to the 1995 Premier League title and – under the terms of a 1987 settlement – his family trust undertook to continue investing in the club.

That money has now dried up and chairman John Williams has been leading the search for new investment.

Earlier this summer another Indian, Saurin Shah, signalled his intention to table a £25 million bid, promising to tap into Blackburn’s large Asian community to help fill Ewood Park.

Shah was hoping to tie up a deal by mid-July but sources have indicated that the deal has ‘gone quiet’, opening the door for the Syed bid.

It is understood that Syed is proposing to use WGA funds to complete a swift takeover, clearing the club’s debts of around £20 million and offering an unspecified payment to the Walker Trust for their equity in the club. The balance of the £300 million would then be committed to the club over the long term.

The offer of £300 million of fresh investment could transform Blackburn’s prospects but it is understood Syed is not proposing a Manchester City-style splurge that would bring Galacticos to Lancashire.

Money will be made available for new players, as Syed accepts the current first-team squad is short of the quality required to prosper in the Premier League, but he is thought to favour a measured approach.

The club declined to comment on any potential takeover, saying the matter was in the hands of Rothschilds.

The promise of such a wealthy new owner would transform Blackburn’s prospects and lift them from the annual struggle to remain in the upper half of the Premier League and to balance the books.

Last season the club made a loss of £6.5 million on turnover of £50.9 million, largely because of a wage bill that accounted for 90 per cent of revenue. Despite this, Williams predicted Blackburn would return to being a ‘trading’ club rather than a ‘net seller’. If Syed succeeds in his bid that will be assured.’

A long read for sure but this could be the big move that could propel us back to the league if successful.

Unlike Shah this guy seems to have a very active presence and has a great track record of running businesses like a unit.

It just seems to fit…

Join The Vital Debate


22 Replies to “Ali Syed joins Rovers takeover race”

  • Hope this one is true, as he appears to have the funds to take the club forward, the other contender has not specified how much dough he is going to throw at it, and i have not read anywhere how much he actually has, but this guy is a billionaire and if he can give rovers just funds to match the likes of wigan, stoke, birmingham ect, then we will have half a chance

  • Conclusion in September is super-quick not drawn out at all!

    Fingers crossed but feet firmly on the ground I would suggest.

    Sounds like the perfect buyer for our great Club though.

  • Seems to be gathering pace alot quicker than the other takeover talk, They have confirmed to the telegraph that they have lodged a bid, Exciting times if we are going to have some serious cash to spend :-0

  • Wow!! This is unbelievable and i’d be very confident that this deal will happen… because when someone with that kind of wealth says he’s going to buy a football club it just happens. Its unfortunate that a takeover would not be concluded till September.. but heh whataya goin to do?

  • Well I suppose it follows on from what Mr Williams has been saying all along, that there are a number of parties interested, but this one seems to be gathering pace quickly,i agree with riisenholt, excited and afraid indeed, although I like the fact that they don’twant to just splash the cash like CIty and say they will provide the funds as and when we need them 🙂

  • I am really excited and enthuastic about the prospect of being owned by Ali Syed. I have read quite a few articles about him in the past few days, and I have been impressed with what I have seen. He does not want us to be another Man City, which I consider to be a good thing, because whilst it would be great to compete for a Europa League place season after season, I would not like to do so at the expense of the current stability we have enjoyed for quite some time now.

    Personally, I hope this one goes through. Let’s just hope the board have the sense to sell to this guy, instead of the unknown Shah.

  • He sounds to have his head on, with his money, William’s guidance we could become a real force over time, but a stable force, not like City who could be in League 1 in 5 years.

  • Sounds more promising than the other parties we’ve heard about, just what the club needs long term investment. Exciting times ahead all going well !!

  • I’d rather we got it right and it took a little longer TBF. This guy sounds a lot better than Saurin Shah who whilst decent doesn’t have the same connections as this lad (or appears to anyway!).

  • Sounds like a promising move – it’s good to see there are alternatives out there. The only issue I have with investment types is their penchant for asset stripping. However, if he proves to be ‘the one’ it would be good if he could implement some of Shah’s ideas, mainly encouraging the Asian community to come down on Saturday afternoons!

Your Comment