Football

Peter Lim’s Valencia bid threatened by US bidder?

Peter Lim’s Valencia bid threatened by US bidder?
The Mestalla Stadium, Valencia’s home ground. The club last won the Spanish league title in 2004. Photo: Getty Images
Reports by Spanish media suggest takeover might be on the line after competing bid from unnamed American
Published: January 16, 7:54 AM
Updated: January 16, 8:00 AM

VALENCIA — Singaporean businessman Peter Lim’s bid to buy Spanish club Valencia appears to be on the line after reports said an unnamed American bidder had presented a higher bid.

Spanish radio statio Cadena SER Valencia reported that the unnamed bidder had submitted a bid at the eleventh hour, and that the offer looked to be enough to deny Lim his takeover bid. It added that Valencia’s creditor, Spanish banking conglomerate Bankia, will make an announcement soon, likely to be regarding the bid.

Inside Spanish Football, a Spanish-football focused site based in Spain, also reported Lim faced competition from other bidders, but that no other bids could rival Lim’s offer until the unnamed American stepped into the fray.

Valencia and Bankia have until Jan 15 to decide whether to accept the bid. Bankia had pushed for the club to be sold as it considers the debt insurmountable and Mr Lim could buy 70 per cent of shares belonging to the Valencia Foundation.

Lim, a Manchester United fan, had offered to buy Spanish football club Valencia with a cash injection that would rid it of its €300 million (S$521 million) debt, finance the construction of a new 75,000-seat stadium and provide €30 million to €50 million in funds for the purchase of new players.

Valencia last won the Spanish Primera Division, the top-tier of Spanish club football, in 2004 — the last team other than Real Madrid and Barcelona to achieve this — but went on a downward spiral since the departure of coach Rafael Benitez to Liverpool in the summer of 2004.

After the economic downturn hit Spain in 2009, Valencia was forced to sell its top stars, including David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata, to repay some of its debt.

Valencia is not the first football club Lim has tried to buy: He attempted to buy Liverpool in 2010 but lost out to American Sports investment company Fenway Sports Group, while reports last year linked Lim to a stake in Atletico Madrid.