Peter Lim Soon to be Valencia's New Owner
Club president Amadeo Salvo has spent months searching for a big investor in Valencia football club and finally he appears to have found one, thanks to super-agent Jorge Mendes. Singapore magnate Peter Lim is the man. Possessor of one of the biggest fortunes in the world, he was previously in the running to buy a stake in Atlético de Madrid.
Ten days ago, Bankia, which is owed, between the club and the Valencia Foundation, a total of $411 million, announced that it was putting the Valencia club up for sale. By then, Amadeo Salvo had already been actively seeking investors so that the new stadium could be completed; this is a key factor in sorting out the club's problems.
When Amadeo Salvo authorised the new manager's contract until 2015, it was because the whole project was beginning to take shape, and during his time as president, it looks very much like it will come to fruition quite rapidly. So, will Lim be prepared to spend his money to pay off Valencia's debts and improve the team?
According to those who have been taking part in the negotiations, Lim's initial investment will be $550 million, with which he will buy shares, pay off Bankia, finish off the stadium and invest in the team.
It was during Salvo's search, conducted together with the new marketing manager Louis Dowens, who has connections with Mendes, that they discovered that Peter Lim was interested in linking up with a Spanish league club. Earlier in the year Lim held talks with Atlético de Madrid, though in the end nothing came of it.
Salvo has cleared up any doubts surrounding the takeover of the club by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim. "Refinancing the club has always been and will continue to be the goal. We travelled around China, where we met with Wanda to talk about the stadium, and around the Middle East and Singapore. On 2nd November we met Mr Lim, we told him about the project and he was interested. Valencia has a great deal of potential".
Salvo was keen to talk up the investment magnate: "Lim is football-mad. In November Bankia [the bank which is Valencia's main creditor] took on a more radical stance. [CEO Luis] Cervera and I explained to Bankia how we would guarantee the refinancing process".
The club's future now appears on much surer footing: "A multinational firm has guaranteed $180 million to finish the stadium – this is the real deal, it's not a sham. I've always said that if we had to sell the club, it had to be for $275-411 million, so the debt would be cleared. I made it clear a venture capital fund wasn't the answer and wouldn't work. We needed someone who wasn't fuelled by speculation".
Salvo has held in-depth talks with Lim: "In light of Bankia's comments, Mr Lim called us and came to Valencia to meet the board and the president and vice-president of the Valencia Foundation. Lim pledged to pay off the debt and create a competitive team by making a major investment. With this offer on the table – one of the two or three biggest takeover bids in football – we had to call Bankia".
The Valencia president also noted that Bankia has until the 15th of January to approve the takeover, as this will give the club enough time to bring in reinforcements before the transfer window closes on the 30th.