Football

Lim beats six other bids in vote

Singapore businessman Peter Lim has become the new majority owner of debt-ridden Valencia after buying 70.4 per cent of the shares owned by the club's foundation, the Spanish club said yesterday.

The Valencia foundation's patrons unanimously voted for Lim's proposal, made via his company Meriton Holdings, ahead of other offers from international groups pledging significant cash injections.

"Peter Lim has completed the takeover," a Valencia spokesman said.

The next task for the new owner will be to agree a deal with lender Bankia, who are owed 220 million euros ($376m) , the spokesman added. The club's total debt is around 360m euros.

Lim, who made a failed attempt to buy English Premier League side Liverpool in 2010, was the choice of club president Amadeo Salvo (right), who felt the offer was the best suited to turning around the club's fortunes.

The club's announcement came after a four-hour meeting at the Valencia Palace Hotel, and Valencia fans had gathered outside to await the outcome of the vote with banners and signs that read: "You can't sell this feeling".

Lim's offer beat the other six bids on the table. He has a fortune worth $2.4 billion, according to Forbes magazine, and is an avid football and sports fan.

Like many Spanish clubs, Valencia have struggled with high levels of debt and have been forced to sell their top players to stay afloat. They failed to qualify for next season's Champions League and were knocked out of the Europa League this month by eventual winners Sevilla in the semi-finals.

With one match left, a home game against Celta Vigo played this morning (Singapore time), Valencia are 10th in the 20-team La Liga.

All 22 representatives of the foundation voted in favour of Lim's proposal, which intends to clear the debts and invest heavily in the squad.

Marca.com said yesterday that with good connections already in the game - Lim is close to the renowned Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes - the Singaporean has already taken over the rights of a number of players such as Rodrigo and Andre Gomes, who could now be on their way to Valencia. There are also plans to sign a third Benfica player, Ezequiel Garay.

Lim has also promised that a new stadium will be finished by the club's centenary year in 2019.

Since winning La Liga twice in three seasons at the start of the last decade, as well as the Uefa Cup, times have been hard financially for Valencia.

The likes of David Villa, David Silva, Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata have all been sold and this season will be the first time in six campaigns they have finished outside of La Liga's top six. - Wire Services.