Saturday, September 02, 2006


BBC: Bid talks underway

C+P from BBC

West Ham in takeover discussions

West Ham are having "exploratory discussions" over a possible takeover.

The move comes hot on the heels of the club luring Argentine pair Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to the club.

"Discussions are at an early stage and there can be no certainty that an offer for West Ham will be forthcoming," said a club statement to the Stock Exchange.

"The board also confirms that there is no contractual link between the signing of the players (Tevez and Mascherano) and the bid discussions."

Georgian businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili said on Friday he was considering investing in the club with Kia Joorabchian.

Iranian-born Joorabchian was president of Media Sports Investment (MSI), who owned the rights to the Argentine stars who signed from Corinthians on transfer deadline day.

Joorabchian reportedly resigned as president of MSI in June but retained an investment in Tevez and Mascherano.

And a spokesman for Patarkatsishvili said on his client's behalf on Friday: "It is true that Kia Joorabchian is my friend and we have done business together in the past.

"At this time I am not involved in any possible bid for West Ham but I am thinking about it and cannot exclude such a possibility in the future."

Patarkatsishvili is Georgia's largest private investor and chairman of the Georgian Business Federation.

But Russian Boris Berezovsky is not interested in any bid to take over at Upton Park.

A statement issued on his behalf said: "Mr Berezovsky wishes to make it clear that he has absolutely no involvement financial or otherwise in any possible bid for West Ham."

MSI have a stake in Brazilian club Corinthians and pulled out of a potential takeover of the Hammers in November 2005 after failing to agree a price with the club's directors.

West Ham would not be drawn on revealing who they were in discussions with about the possible takeover.

But Joorabchian told BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday: "MSI is a company that will not invest in European football as such by investing in a club, so that speculation is out for sure."

Joorabchian did admit that potential takeover talks last year between MSI and West Ham, served as helping build the relationship which led to the Hammers signing Tevez and Mascherano.

"Last year we spoke a lot with West Ham because we were looking at making potential investments which we never did," he added.

"We had a very good relationship with the chairman Terry Brown and Paul Aldridge.

"That relationship continued like a friendship and when this came about we started to speak and here you have it.

"You have two of the best players in the world playing in a big fantastic club."

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