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Premier League's Palace linked to Chinese takeover

China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-17 09:41
Crystal Palace's Julian Speroni and Mamadou Sakho in action with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk at Anfield in Liverpool, Britain, Jan 19, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Businessman in talks with London club, says report

English Premier League club Crystal Palace has held takeover talks with a "mystery Chinese businessman", according to a report in British newspaper The Sun.

The tabloid claims that the south London team's American owners, Josh Harris and David Blitzer, are looking to sell their majority stake and in May met with the Chinese suitor and one of his family members, who acted as a translator.

The report claims that an initial offer of just under 200 million pounds ($250 million) was tabled, and that Palace has at least one other group seriously interested in buying the club.

The Sun reported that Harris and Blitzer have appointed US investment bank PJT Partners as advisers to help them cash in.

Harris and Blitzer, who both own stakes in the NHL's New Jersey Devils and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, have pumped 100m pounds into the Eagles after buying a 36 percent stake in December 2015. Chairman Steve Parish owns 18 percent.

Palace, managed by former England boss Roy Hodgson, comfortably staved off relegation last season, finishing 12th in the EPL, 15 points above the drop zone, thanks mainly to the goals of Wilfried Zaha.

Both striker Zaha and rightback Aaron Wan-Bissaka are expected to leave Palace for bigger clubs this summer, with Manchester United currently in negotiations to sign the latter.

News of the possible Palace takeover comes amid a surge of Chinese money into European soccer in recent years.

Italy's Inter Milan is owned by Chinese retail giant Suning, while Fosun International, one of China's largest conglomerates, owns Palace's Premier League rival Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Wolves' fortunes have turned around after being bought by Fosun for 30 million pounds in 2016. Last year, the club returned to the top flight after a six-year hiatus and defied expectations to finish seventh, thereby securing a place in the Europa League's qualifying rounds.

British radio station Talksport in May rated Fosun as the EPL's best club owner.

"With the day-to-day running of the club left to (chairman) Jeff Shi, and with help from super agent Jorge Mendes... Wolves romped to the Championship title last season to secure a return to the top flight," said an article on Talksport's website.

"They made some of the greatest signings ever seen in the Championship and bought a host of top-class players for the current Premier League campaign who have performed excellently.

"Given what they have done for Wolves so far, many expect Fosun to keep investing in the Molineux club to make them one of the best teams in England."

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