BREAKING NEWS: Blackburn sold to Indian company

November 19, 2010

English soccer club, Blackburn Rovers have been bought by the Rao family from India for £23m (US $37m).

The trust set up by late former owner Jack Walker to own the club has sold its 99.9% holding to the newly formed company Venky’s London Limited.

Trust chairman Paul Egerton-Vernon said: “We’re very pleased to be passing on the Rovers to the Rao family.

“We have been impressed with their enthusiasm and their plans and ideas for investment as well as their wish to preserve the legacy of Jack Walker.”

Venky’s chairman Anuradha J Desai said they were “delighted, proud and humbled to be associated with Blackburn Rovers”.

He added: “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 the full support of the Walker Trust, the chairman and the management team, who will of course remain in place with our full support.”

The deal make Rovers the first Indian-owned Premier League club, and the new owners believe their experience of the Asian country means they will be able to open a huge new market for the Lancashire outfit.

Venky’s director Balaji Rao said the firm intends to “exploit our in-depth knowledge of the Indian market in particular, and beyond that, the whole of Asia” to develop the club’s fan base.

According to its website Venky’s, formerly known as Western Hatcheries Ltd, was established in 1976, mainly to produce chicks for Indian poultry markets, before diversifying into other areas including nutritional health products for humans, pet food and other healthcare products.

The Jack Walker Trust put Blackburn up for sale two years ago in the hope of attracting buyers willing to invest.

Blackburn are 14th in the Premier League, only two points above the relegation places after picking up four victories in 13 games.