LONDON, Friday 19th November 2010: The Board of Blackburn Rovers Football and Athletic plc (BRF&A) today announces the sale by the Jack Walker 1987 Settlement of its 99.9% shareholding in BRF&A to Venky’s London Limited, a newly formed company owned by the Rao family of India for a sum (including contingent consideration payable) of £23 million or 17.17 pence per share. Venky’s London Limited will be making an equivalent unconditional offer (mandatory under the Takeover Code) to the minority shareholders, holding the remaining 0.1% of the shares in BRF&A.
The Rao family have an extensive range of business interests in India and elsewhere in the world including their flagship company Venkateshwara Hatcheries Private Limited, the parent company of Venky’s (India) Limited which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Paul Egerton – Vernon, Chairman of the Jack Walker Settlement Trustees said:
“We are very pleased to be passing on the Rovers to the Rao family. We have been impressed with their enthusiasm for the Club and their plans and ideas for future investment to develop it further as well as their wish and commitment to preserve the legacy of Jack Walker. We are particularly pleased that the Club will continue in family ownership and that the existing management team at the Rovers led by John Williams will continue unchanged. We would like to express our gratitude and admiration for the great job John and his team have done for the Club whilst it has been part of the Trust. Over the last 10 years, the global appeal of the Premier League has grown significantly and it is only natural that, as we have seen at other Clubs, international ownership and investment should increase.“
Anuradha J Desai, the Chairperson of Venky’s, said:
“We are delighted, proud and humbled to be associated with Blackburn Rovers, a team with whom we share many values and ambitions. Going forward we plan to focus on leveraging the global influence in establishing Blackburn Rovers as a truly global brand. We will absolutely respect the Jack Walker legacy and will be actively supporting the organisation to ensure that Blackburn Rovers remains one of the best run Clubs within the Premier League. We are particularly pleased that the deal has full support of the Walker Trust, the Chairman and the management team who will of course remain in place with our full support.”
John Williams, Chairman of BRF&A said:
“The successful conclusion of the deal is clearly a significant event in the history of the Club. It represents the end of the remarkable Walker era, which saw Rovers projected to the top of the football pyramid. In the ten years since Jack’s death the Board and Trustees together have managed to build on Jack’s legacy and preside over the Club’s longest term in the top flight since 1936. The Rao Family pursued the opportunity with determination and enthusiasm. The board will remain focused on what it does, providing important stability, a platform from which the new owners will be able to launch new ideas, particularly in markets outside the UK.”
Mr. Venkateshwara Rao, Joint Managing Director of Venky’s said:
“We are all truly honoured to be working with such an historic champion Club and are committed to creating a long-term financial platform with which the Club can use to realise it’s obvious potential on and off of the field. Our involvement with the Club will focus on using the global influence of Venky’s, in establishing Blackburn Rovers as a global brand. It is as a team that this Club has succeeded in the past and it is as a team that this Club will achieve great things in the future”
The Whole Time Director of the Venky’s Group Balaji Rao also added:
“We see real sustainable growth for the Club moving forward, both within the UK and also internationally and we intend to exploit our in-dept knowledge of Indian market in particular and beyond that, the whole of Asia. Blackburn Rovers fans will be delighted to add to the family a huge Indian and Asian fan base. The immediate future will be spent with the key figures at the Club from the Chairman and the management team right through to the players and Club staff working with them to ensure that we move forward as a team. It is as a team that this Club has succeeded in the past and it is as a team that this Club will achieve great things in the future.”
The Trustees of the Jack Walker Settlement were advised by Rothschild and Addleshaw Goddard. Venky’s London Limited was advised by Hammonds
Press Contact: Venky’s London : Taylor Herring PR +44 208 206 5151