Tuesday, December 29, 2009

AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes rules out bid for West Ham

29 December 2009

LONDON— Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes has ruled out making a bid for his favourite football club West Ham, as he is busy running the Lotus Formula One team.

He had fuelled speculation that he could launch a bid to buy the east London-based English Premier League club, as he attended the match between the side and Portsmouth last week.

Fernandes, the founder of budget airline AirAsia, also met West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola after the match, reported The Telegraph.

The entrepreneur, however, ruled out making a bid for the club as he is busy running an F1 team — the 45-year-old is Lotus’ team principal for next season.

The paper also revealed that he held detailed discussions with West Ham chairman Andrew Bernhardt on a previous occasion, but apparently they did not bear fruit.

Fernandes’ decision to distance himself from any takeover talk has been a source of great regret at West Ham, as the innovative businessman is regarded by many as an exciting potential investor.

Still, he admitted that he might be tempted to make a move but did not indicate that it would be any time soon.

CB Holding, the company set up by the creditors of West Ham’s former owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, has appointed Rothschild bank to deal with potential investors.

Talks have taken place with a number of parties, including former Birmingham City co-owner David Sullivan, although his bid of around £46 million (RM253 million) falls short of the bank’s valuation of the club.

CB Holding insists it is under no pressure to sell and has a three-year plan to retain ownership of West Ham if it does not find the right investor. However, it is also aware that new funding would help create greater stability.

The Straits Times

No comments: