It is not the Ambanis who are set to join a Middle Eastern prince, the Russian oil oligarch Roman Abramovich and others as proud owners of EPL teams. But instead a relatively smaller & unknown group – Venkys (formerly Western Hatcheries Private Limited) is set to buy the Blackburn Rovers – currently ranked 17th in the EPL table for a sum of £46 million.
Venky’s was started in 1976 as Western Hatcheries Private Limited for producing broiler chicks for markets in North India. But over the years it has turned into Asia’s largest poultry producer having a turnover of over £1 billion with products including animal and human health products, pellet feeds, processed chicken products and other nutritional products. It has been voted by the Forbes Magazine as the 67th best global small company for the year 1999-2000.
Blackburn Rovers who?
Blackburn Rovers are based in Blackburn, Lancashire. Since becoming league champions in the year 1995 with players like Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, they haven’t been able to achieve that legacy. This has led to them being ranked 10th or beyond, thrice in the past 5 seasons. For the last two years they have been on sale.
So what does Venky’s plan to achieve with this deal?
Many football fans dream of owners putting all the income generated back to the club itself for improvement in its facilities, grounds etc. But things are always not so simple. Everyone has a motive for buying a club whether its extravagance, style or business objectives is another matter altogether.
Anuradha Desai, chairperson of Venky’s has already said that this is an investment for the group to expand beyond the Asian markets. They also aim to leverage the 14% Indian fan base in Blackburn. But then they are also pretty candid and right in their approach of making the top 10 at least and avoid being relegated.
But then considering the net transfer fees of the past seasons to be -£7m and them spending only £5m to buy new players, the money left for the recruits will be very little.
Venky’s aim to keep the club at the elite level. But with such a miniscule investment by English Premier League standards, it could be a problem in the future.
But all in all, this is something really exciting for an Indian company and that too one whose not in the league of the biggies. With this Deal Venkateshwara Hatcheries has become the first Indian Company to own an EPL Team beating Reliance’s and Sahara’s of the world who have been tipped on owning EPL Teams
Do you think owning an EPL team is a good investment for an Indian company?