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The Takeover Dream Is Over

Millionaire businessman Daniel Williams has given up on his dream to buy Blackburn Rovers.

The Lancashire Telegraph has revealed the American-based tycoon and boyhood Rovers fan has finally admitted defeat in his quest to take ownership of the club, after claiming the Walker trustees are not prepared to budge over the asking price.

Williams, a Cambridge graduate who originally made his name in the recruitment sector, first became interested in a buy-out of Rovers when he learned the Walker trustees were willing to sell their 99.8 per cent stake early last year.

Since then, the 31-year-old, who originally hails from Lytham St Annes, has held a series of discussions, both with chairman John Williams and the club's corporate advisers, Rothschilds, with a view to a possible takeover.

But, after the parties failed to agree on a valuation of the business, Williams has now reluctantly decided to withdraw from the process, claiming the figures he was quoted prevented it from being a viable investment.

The self-made millionaire confessed: 'There seems to be too big a gap between what we think the club is worth, and what the trustees want for it.

'The reality is the trustees want to sell, but they don't have to, so they are holding out for the figure they want, which is their prerogative.

'But we don't want to come in and end up paying over the odds, which would then have an impact on the amount of money we could then make available to take the club forward.

'At the end of the day, it is an investment and right now, we can't see any way we'd get a fair return on that investment if we took the club over at the present level.

'My heart says yes, but my head says no.'

Williams confessed in an exclusive interview with the Lancashire Telegraph last June that he did not have the means to fund a takeover on his own, but planned to put together a consortium, which had the backing of several major investors.

Daniel Williams said: 'Everyone who has looked at Blackburn has said there is no way to grow it from a business point of view.

'The only way you could get a return on your investment would be to start selling assets and, being a fan myself, that's not a route I was prepared to go down.'

Aside from the differences over valuation, Williams and his partners also had major concerns about the expectation levels amongst the fans.

Talk of challenging the big four', and what it would take financially to make that an achieveable goal in the long-term, made some of Williams' US investors apprehensive about the project.

Although the Walker trustees are believed to have held takeover talks with other interested parties since March last year, Williams remains the only person to publicly declare an interest in buying the club, although he never enjoyed the full support of the supporters, some of whom were always wary of his motives.

Williams' decision to pull out means the trustees will now pursue other avenues and manager Mark Hughes recently stated in an interview that it is essential to the future well being of the club that fresh investment is attracted from somewhere.

Speaking in November, the Rovers boss said: 'It would be helpful if we could get investors in that would move the club forward and enable me to possibly compete with the other clubs in and around us.

'The motivation of the trustees is they won't sell to someone who'll just come in and nothing will change, because there's no reason to - we'd be no better off.

'If a buyer comes in that can move the club forward then I'm sure they'll sell. But that hasn't happened as yet so we'll keep going.'




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The Journalist

Writer: Mikey Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 18 2008

Time: 10:51AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I think this sad really becasue if both parties could of sorted something out then the club as a whole would be in a lot stronger position. Oh well, life goes on.
MikeyGamst
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18/01/2008 11:05:00

yeah would have been nice but hey ho thats how it goes. it would be nice to get some investment into the club but i dont want to see it done at the expense of the clubs future.
durks de rover
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18/01/2008 11:07:00

Money money money.
martinr
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18/01/2008 11:13:00

The board's reasoning doesn't make sense. We need funds to strengthen and improve to challenge the teams around us, which in turn would create greater revenue. However they don't want to put the money in as they don't think it'll work (or not willing to take the risk) so what is the point. The board are stating they someone else to come in and risk their money because they don't want to. Does this mean that the board want mid-league finishes and be happy with that? Are we just here to make up the numbers in the league?
FreidelNo.1
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18/01/2008 11:19:00

Ah well, guess we wont have any money, nothing new
sasman
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18/01/2008 11:53:00

This is a shame, but what can you do. It's a blow, and will mean no investment, but so long as there isn't pressure for Sparky to sell we will be OKAY.
Hughes Da Man
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18/01/2008 12:05:00

well .. it might have all turned a little sour.. I hear finances over at the hammers aren't going too well after a 20mil loss last year. Also, are we the poorest team in the premiership.. looking at the money being thrown around by some of the other clubs it feels like it... or is it just the case that many of the small clubs are spending a lot in desperation since the price of relegation is so high (derby, sunderland etc)
Bents4eng
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18/01/2008 12:08:00

Ah well. As sasman said, we have no money, nothing new there. It means that we can't pay over the odds for an average player (compare Tottenham and Darren Bent with Rovers and Santa Cruz...).
Decimus Poole
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18/01/2008 12:56:00

yeah that thought does make me feel warm inside, sparky sure knows how to pick them
durks de rover
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18/01/2008 13:34:00

Good point DP - however it does make you wonder - if we have a good finish we will receive record abouts of prize money (bottom club will get 30Million) How much of that will be available to Hughes for next season? Or will the board pocket it and walk off when a new buyer comes in?
FreidelNo.1
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18/01/2008 13:52:00

I would suggest that a majority of the money will go back into the club, be it frozen season ticket prices, better pies, cheaper shirts, etc, i.e. giving back to the fans. I'd say Hughes will see a little more than he saw at the beginning of this season. And so the bargain hunting will begin...again...
Decimus Poole
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18/01/2008 14:05:00

probably true.. guessing some of it'll go into wage bills etc (prob much lower now that sav has gone) ... I still think we should see at least 10mil to spend at the start of next season
Bents4eng
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18/01/2008 14:24:00

I would expect around 10 mill. Now surely the debate will be who to buy!? A decent left winger...?
Decimus Poole
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18/01/2008 14:49:00

It's a harsh reality that we are now one of the poorer clubs - If only there was another Jack Walker. I have full confidence in Hughesy continuing to make good signings and with so many clubs splashing the cash on new players, we could pick up some good cast-offs (like Sidwell)
Wellsy
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18/01/2008 15:39:00

It may be a blessing in disguise?
storagematt
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18/01/2008 16:11:00

Shame and now no funds at all, and we do need a central midfielder and isn't brett going to an Asian cup? or something like that? Hopefully Sparky will get 5mill to play with this Jan that is a fair amount.
roverjoy
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18/01/2008 17:46:00

So if the Trustees sell where does the money go? Surely Uncle Jack set something in place for this eventuality? It's a shame as this bloke seemed like he could have been our next Uncle!
simdohquo
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18/01/2008 21:19:00

don't believe it he probably just wants to pay less and will come back soon with anothern offer
ozanne park rangers
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19/01/2008 08:34:00

Console yourself guys with the fact that for a poor club there isnt a better guy out there to spen what little wehave so wisely!!!
MikeyGamst
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20/01/2008 15:37:00

 

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