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Indian entrepreneur closes in on Blackburn deal

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-18 23:36:21
Indian entrepreneur closes in on Blackburn deal

MUMBAI: An Indian entrepreneur is close to clinching a deal to buy English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers worth between 54 and 69 million dollars, a source familiar with the matter has told AFP.

The process of due diligence -- which opens up the club`s financial accounts for evaluation to a potential buyer -- has begun, the well-placed source said, on condition of anonymity.

"Once this is complete, Saurin Shah and his consortium will make a fresh bid for Blackburn," the source told AFP.

The deal is set to be valued at between 35 and 45 million pounds including debt, the source added, without elaborating.

It is understood that Shah, who declined to comment on the deal, made an initial approach to the club offering about 25 million pounds.

The largely-unknown businessman, who has shipping interests in Europe, approached brokers in London about buying a club in the English game`s top flight and settled for Blackburn because of its growth potential.

Shah is the nephew of Niranjan Shah, who is the vice-chairman of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

Blackburn, like Shah`s hometown of Mumbai, was largely built on the success of its cotton spinning industry. The city lies about 20 miles (34 kilometres) from Manchester in northwest England.

The British town also has a sizeable south Asian community, mainly of Indian or Pakistani origin.

Some 28,384 people classed themselves as "Asian" or "Asian British" in the last nationwide census in 2001 -- just over 20 percent of the town`s population of 137,470, according to government figures.

BDST: 1805 hrs, July 19, 2010

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