Blackburn Rovers are close to a shock takeover by the VH Group – an Indian company that made billions in the chicken industry.
Rovers could be in new hands as early as next week as representatives of the firm, which has expanded into many widespread fields, are due to arrive for final talks in the next 48 hours.
And the Premier League are also expected to put the mystery group through a thorough inspection about their background and plans before rubber-stamping the £40 million-plus bid.
The VH Group are known throughout Asia as leaders in the poultry business but they want to crack European markets and see Premier League football as a base for their expansion.
Known locally as Venky’s – short for Venkateshwara Hatcheries – they have amassed a great fortune in the past few decades and have the money to buy out the late Jack Walker’s Trustees for cash with no borrowing.
Rovers is for sale at around £25 million and have debts of around £16 million. There would be money to wipe that out and put cash in a transfer kitty for January.
Ironically Rovers have been a target for a couple of other bidders from India, with the VH Group the latest but about to become the most successful in that quest.
VH Group refused to comment last night but an insider near the deal said: “The group want to buy Rovers because they feel the Premier League is going to get bigger and bigger in India and Asia.
“This is a cash deal, with no leverage. The company has a lot of money and will not be wasting it, but they are very keen to succeed and see huge opportunities for all sides.”
SAM Allardyce admits the sooner Blackburn Rovers are sold the better as the club inches towards being taken over.
Indian conglomerate the VH Group are now believed to be ahead in the race to take control from the Walker Trust with the next week potentially pivotal in the takeover process.
The largest Asian poultry group, who have business interests in a range of other areas including processed food, animal vaccines and pharmaceuticals, are not the only suitors though with Indian tycoon Ahsan Ali Syed at least one other interested party.
The Lancashire Telegraph understand though Rovers do not expect any presence from any of the potential buyers at Anfield on Sunday with any sale not likely to be completed until at least late November.
The VH Group, whose interest in the club was exclusively reported at lancashiretelegraph.co.uk last Saturday, are understood to have made progress in their bid to buy the club with negotiations expected to continue next week.
There remains much mystery around their bid for the club, including who the key figures are and their motives for trying to buy the club.
Mr Ali Syed meanwhile is still believed to be a long way off agreeing a deal with the club, despite making donations to Blackburn cathedral and the Nightsafe ‘charity’ over the past week.
Sources close to the process remain confident the club will eventually be sold although have stressed nothing is a done deal at the moment.
Manager Sam Allardyce said: “I know it is a bit closer. The sooner the club eventually changes hands the better for the future of the club. When a business goes up for sale it does stagnate and stand still.
“The important thing about new owners is about moving forward again. New investment is needed for football clubs and at the moment the club has not had investment for a long time.
“It is probably closer than it ever has been. January isn’t going to excite me though. It is the most horrible month in football. It is the wrong time and the wrong place to be investing any type of money.
“All this money in January is not for me. It is the most hated window in football. We would not want to be taking any investment into the January window unless we knew it would be a certainty to be a success and it was the right players for us as a football club and at the right price.”