Lim's all set to become Valencia owner

Singapore billionaire investor Peter Lim's protracted takeover of Spanish football club Valencia is close to completion, as he is set to purchase a controlling stake of the debt-ridden oufit.

The 61-year-old reached an agreement with Bankia - the Spanish bank that held most of the club's 200 million euros (S$323 million) debt - on the restructuring of the club's finances, paving the way for him to buy a 70 per cent stake in Valencia.

Lim was at the club's home ground, the Mestalla Stadium, last night to watch the team host Elche in a Spanish La Liga clash.

The club announced on Friday night that the Singaporean investor's Meriton Holdings and the Foundation of Valencia CF will sign a sales and purchase agreement, to be approved by the Spanish government in a month's time.

To kickstart some much-needed rebuilding, Meriton had pushed hard to finalise agreements with the key stakeholders. The club are without European football for the first time in 16 years, after finishing eighth in La Liga last season.

With all major stakeholders now on board with Meriton's plans, the acquisition process enters the final phase of concluding the necessary legal agreements and approvals from the authorities.

Said Chan Lay Hoon, Meriton's director: "We are extremely proud to be given the opportunity to take control of one of the biggest and most-supported clubs in Europe.

"It has been a very long journey, longer than we would have liked. We especially want to thank the Valencia CF fans for their unwavering support and patience. We look forward to many exciting years of European football with our fans."

Club president Amadeo Salvo added: "We are writing a new chapter in Valencia. With Mr Lim, we are going to be stronger. To be successful, we must work hard and stand united as a family. Peter Lim is now a very important member of our family and we want to say, 'Welcome, Peter Lim!' "

Valencia are the third-most successful side in Spain, with six La Liga titles and seven Spanish Cup victories.

In the early 2000s, they were twice runners-up in the elite Champions League and won the Uefa Cup - now known as the Europa League - in 2004.

This article was first published on Oct 26, 2014.
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