Sullivan buys half of West Ham

BY foxsports • January 19, 2010

Former Birmingham owner David Sullivan purchased half of Premier League rival West Ham on Tuesday with a view to a full takeover.

Sullivan will have operational and commercial control of the Hammers under the deal with CB Holding, which was mostly owned by Icelandic Bank Straumur.

A full takeover would be worth 105 million pounds ($172 million), and Sullivan is looking for further investors.

"We've bought 50 per cent and I've got an option to buy the other 50 percent," Sullivan said. "We welcome other partners. Anyone who wants to put 10 or 15 million pounds in can buy 10 percent of the club."

One of those Sullivan will approach is Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, whose own takeover bid failed.

Sullivan will be joint chairman with David Gold - his longtime partner at Birmingham.

"Our first priority has to be securing the Premier League status of West Ham," Sullivan said. "I believe the players at this club have shown great commitment in trying circumstances and the new board and I will get behind them in every way we can.

"We will also look to bring in new players to supplement the squad where needed once we have met with the manager."

Straumur, which is owned by the Icelandic government, has owned 70 percent of West Ham's holding company since June. It prevented West Ham going bankrupt by taking over debts of previous owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, who held a 41 percent stake in Landsbanki, another Icelandic bank.

"Our long-term aim will be to put the club on a stronger financial footing," Sullivan said. "West Ham United need stability after all the recent upheavals. We appointed four managers and parted company with two at Birmingham in 16 years. We believe in our managers and give them the time and support they need.

"The club is now back in the hands of East Enders, people who understand the community and its passion for the Hammers. I believe that depth of feeling will also bring us through what has been a difficult period."

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