Friday, 10 October 2008
Dubai takeover bid for Charlton
Charlton's prospective new supremo, His Excellency Mohammed Ali Ali Hashimi
A Dubai based group has made a takeover bid for Charlton, fulfilling the wildest dreams of some Charlton fans.
The club has confirmed they have received 'an indicative cash offer' to buy the club from a Dubai-based investment company. The club confirmed in a statement that it will enter a period of due diligence with Zabeel Investments.
The statement added: 'Should the offer be made formally to shareholders, the board would recommend shareholders to accept it. There is, however, no certainty that a formal offer will be made.'
Information on the potential new owners can be found here: Zabeel
An interview with the Zabeel chief executive from the New York Times is here: Interview
Founded in February 2006, Zabeel Investments is a Dubai-based diversified investment company focused on the areas of commercial real estate development and management, private equity and asset management across a wide range of economic sectors in the UAE.
From its base at Dubai International Financial Centre and under the leadership of Executive Chairman HE Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi, Zabeel Investments has built up an AED 12.4 billion portfolio in its first year, incorporating property development, construction, hospitality, media, finance and education.
The new supremo has issued a statement in which he praises the passion of the Charlton fans, the heritage of the club and its commitment to the community and his expressed his determination to get the club back to the Premiership.
Richard Murray has said that he is convinced the sale will be good for Charlton and for the local community, confirming that the new owners will respect the club's distinctive traditions. The board would not sell to buyers who did not meet those criteria.
Sky Sports News have just reported live from The Valley that the deal may be completed in a few days. Ladbrookes have slashed the odds on the Addicks being promoted. Jubilant fans were already gathering outside the Superstore.
Sky paid a warm tribute to Richard Murray for all he had done for the club which I am sure would be endorsed by all fans. They talked about him 'walking away into the sunset' but I think that most fans would like him to have a continuing role and my sense is that he could be involved in some way if he wished.
Sky interviewed supporters' director Ben Hayes. Ben hinted that the prospective owners had considered a number of clubs, but were impressed by Charlton's potential in terms of such factors as the availability of planning permission for future ground development; the Thames Gateway expansion; and the status of Greenwich as an Olympic borough. The club had been well managed and had good structures in place.
He sensibly suggested that a long-term view needed to be taken and the goal was to get back into the Premiership. The club would continue to build steadily as it had in the past.
Charlton are now serious contenders. It's a bit difficult to gauge the overall reaction from Charlton fans so far, although one fan told the list run by Glynne Jones that he had been up drinking champagne all night. Some obviously have reservations about foreign ownership. My view has always been that it's not the nationality of the owner that matters, but their sense of responsibility.
New York Addick has a thoughtful post as usual. He also knows quite a lot about Dubia, whereas for me it is just a place where I change planes on my way from Birmingham to somewhere like Osaka or Perth. It always seems to cost a fortune for a coffee and I have a big stash of loose change. Perhaps I'll be able to spend it at The Valley now?
Inspector Sands has a good round up of press reaction. Paul Nottage, chair of the supporters' club speaks about 'guarded optimism' among supporters here: Nottage
Equine magnate and leading Charlton supporter John Window is reported to be considering buying a few camels for his Bexleyheath stables.
This brings to mind the remark made by Peter Varney about not seeing any sheikhs at The Valley. I remember that I had flown in from Valencia, I think, and was staying overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in North Greenwich. I picked up a London free paper and it said that a Middle Eastern consortium was going to buy Charlton.
Peter Varney's reaction was to say that he hadn't seen any sheikhs at the last home game. I thought at the time that it was a rather silly remark, as they generally turn up in expensive suits these days, but now I realise that it may have been a rather clever remark and that once again I underestimated the wily Varney.
One issue that is yet to be resolved is the question of the free season ticket offer if we are promoted to the Premiership, but indications seem to be that this will be kept by the new owners.