Indian businessman set to take over Santander
Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed is set to take over Spanish
club Racing Santander after a deal was agreed Friday.
Santander confirmed a statement released by Ali Syed earlier
indicating that the investment company he founded – Western Gulf
Advisory – had received the approval of Spain’s Sports Ministry to
take over ownership of the club.
Santander said Ali Syed was now finalizing the deal with the
Cantabrian government, which has a major stake in the north coast
”I am excited and proud to be the new owner of Real Racing Club
de Santander,” Ali Syed said. ”I look forward to an active and
long-term commitment to this great club, and will invest all my
knowledge and financial strength to elevate the club to the highest
level of success in Spain and Europe.”
Ali Syed said the acquisition is part of long-term strategy plan
for Western Gulf Advisory, the investment firm he founded.
”The conclusion of the sale of shares will guarantee the
institutional and economic stability of Racing,” Santander said in
Santander newspaper El Diario Montanes reported that Ali Syed
will control just over 80 percent of the club’s shares and was
negotiating how much of its existing debt he will assume.
”If he brings the money we’ll go out and dance in the streets
because right now Racing is bankrupt,” Cantabria government
president Miguel Angel Revilla told COPE radio. ”(Santander)
wouldn’t even make it to the summer in the hands of those who have
Ali Syed’s statement added that Credit Suisse performed ”an
intense due diligence process that analyzed and approved Syed’s
strong financial and intellectual capabilities to take the club
Ali Syed lost out to poultry giant Venky for Blackburn, and had
to cooperate with British investigators during negotiations after
reports emerged his company was shut down by fiscal regulators.
The Spanish league has now had two foreign takeovers in seven
months, after Qatari sheik Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani became the
new owner of struggling Malaga in June.
Santander is 98 years old but has struggled recently after
failing to attract significant sponsorship. From 43 seasons in the
top flight, the club has never won a major trophy and only just
avoided relegation last season. The team also sold its brightest
prospect, Sergio Canales, to Real Madrid in the last offseason for
a reported ?5 million ($6.8 million).
Halfway through the current season, the team is in 14th place,
four points above the drop zone.