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Thu 22 Jan 2009 04:14 PM

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Man City deal maker eyes Chelsea FC bid

EXCLUSIVE: UAE-based tycoon working with German investors to draw up takeover proposal.

The Arab tycoon behind the takeover of Manchester City Football Club is working with a group of German investors on a possible bid for Chelsea, Arabian Business can reveal.

Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim has drawn up a Chelsea takeover proposal with Falcon Equity – a Swiss based private equity partnership.

Fahim, CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Hydra Properties, also chairs Falcon Equity, which is run by Holger Heims, former managing partner of DVC Deutsche Venture Capital.

According to the UK media last week, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is considering selling the club and his advisors were reportedly in the Middle East talking to potential buyers although the club has officially denied the sale rumours.

It is understood that Falcon Equity has up to five individuals lined up – mostly in Germany – to fund any takeover attempt.

Falcon Equity boss Holger Heims, when contacted by Arabian Business, said: “We have looked before at some European clubs before to see if the numbers added up, and now we are doing the same with Chelsea. I can’t go into more details at this stage.”

But he added: “I don’t believe anything is ever not for sale if you come up with the right price. It’s not about trying to buy a football team but about a business.

"You don’t make money because 11 guys run around the pitch, you make money because of all the other commercial aspects that go with a football club, particularly real estate and television rights.”

Heims has more than 15 years experience in M&A deals and IPOs, having structured billions of dollars worth of deals in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.

Fahim added in a telephone interview on Thursday: “It’s not entirely clear if Chelsea is for sale, but regardless of that, we first need to see if we are in a position to buy it.

"Given that Roman Abramovich has invested over 500 million pounds into the club, it would not be cheap, and with the current credit crunch, nobody wants to be over-exposed on one deal. But through a number of investors, there is money available to put together a deal."

Since taking over Chelsea, Russian billionaire Abramovich has seen the club win two Premiership titles.

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