Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday January 3 2006
Oh well - no takeover today then!
The reports by the Evening Mail just before Christmas suggesting a takeover would be completed before the end of 2005 were clearly very wide of the mark. Then we had reports over Christmas in the Irish press suggesting the takeover would happen as soon as the stock market opened today. That too has not come to fruition. Instead we have had more quotes from Michael Neville, the Solihull Villa fan fronting the possible bid. Remember, Neville has already admitted that no bid has been made and it isn't definite that one will be put forward.
The group had announced to the stockmarket that a company called Aston Villa Investments Ltd (Avil) has been set up as a vehicle for the possible takeover. So that must surely prove they are active and serious?
Michael Neville today told the Mail that he was still 'upbeat' about a completion of the deal, adding 'Nothing is likely to happen for the next two weeks. Another two weeks and there should be more,'
Even O'Leary joined in the debate and said Villa was 'attractive' for takeover! 'We've given the club a more solid base, got rid of a lot of players, taken the wage bill down and turned it into a club who are maybe attractive for a takeover.'
SO. How can Portsmouth - hardly a Premiership glamour boy - attract a Russian billionaire to their club and how can the deal be done so quickly and yet Villa are still haggling over a deal that Doug said should be done and dusted within a month of the AGM (Oct)?
Who is delaying it? Are the terms not right for Doug? Is the deal not right for the club? Have the Comer brothers had a change of heart after looking at the books? Is the money required not in place? And why aren't the shareholders and fans getting some clear and concise information? Due diligence DOES NOT mean that the companies involved have to remain silent! We could at the very least be given some outline of what the plans would be if they were successful, you certainly can't back anything that you know nothing about - although to be fair, only Ellis and Petchey have a real say as their shares combined amount to 58% or more.
Due diligence doesn't usually take this long, even in deals far bigger (Villa may be a PLC, but it isn't by any stretch of the imagination a big PLC). It basically means that the books are being looked at and the prospective bidders are evaluating whether to put a bid in, how much the bid should be and what potential they can see in the business.
SO. Again. What is the delay? Looks like the suggestion that there is another group involved is also wide of the mark, so that is one complication that can be discounted. Rumours that it was Petchey holding up the deal also look unfounded. It is, like everything involved with Aston Villa, a saga. And one that all parties concerned should look at bringing to an end - whatever the conclusion - with speed because at the moment Villa remain very much in limbo.
Surely the takeover won't happen the very same day that the transfer window closes? Doug has a ready made excuse not to spend at the moment and that leaves the manager under pressure from the fans when the results don't go the way they should.
Again, only time will tell. Maybe there is another Russian billionaire just around the corner!
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Date:Tuesday January 3 2006
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