Indian tycoon Ahsan Ali Syed has bought indebted Spanish football club Racing Santander, his Bahrain-based company announced today.
The deal was confirmed after it was approved by the government of the northern Spanish region of Cantabria and Spain National Sports Council, the company, Western Gulf Advisory Asset and Wealth Management, said in a statement. "I am excited and proud to be the new owner" of Santander football club, the statement quoted Syed as saying.
It said the acquisition is part of Syed's long-term investment in sporting ventures. No figures were given in the statement, but El Diario Montanes, a regional paper in Cantabria, has put the price at €30-40m. The deal is to be carried out through the Dutch-based holding company WGA Sports Holding.
Syed becomes the second foreign magnate to own a Spanish club along with Qatar billionaire Abdullaha bin Nasser Al-Thani, who bought Malaga in May for €25m.
The Indian businessman made a bid in August last year for English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers but failed to reach agreement in negotiations for a reported £300m takeover spread over a five-year plan.
Syed had announced on yesterday that he was planning to purchase the club. "Having studied several options from various countries in the last few months Real Racing Club de Santander has fit into my strategy as it is a well-managed club with a long term potential," Syed said on Thursday.
"Sport has always been a good investment opportunity; especially if it is combined with passion and dream. Football is not only an investment for me but my personal passion. So owning a football club and watching my team play has always been my dream."