Monday 19 May 2014

Peter Lim buys football club Valencia

Peter Lim pays $720m for Valencia
By Wang Meng Meng, The Sunday Times, 18 May 2014

Four years after failing to buy English Premier League giant Liverpool, Singapore billionaire Peter Lim's dream of owning a football club finally came true yesterday when he was named the new owner of Spanish side Valencia.

The former "remisier king", who turns 61 on Wednesday, has pledged 420 million euros (S$720 million) in total, with 200 million euros to clear the La Liga club's debts and 170 million euros to complete construction of a new stadium.

All 22 members of the Valencia Foundation committee, which controls 70 per cent of the club's shares, voted in favour of selling their shares to Mr Lim, making him the first Singaporean to own a top European football side.

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

Mr Lim said in a statement: "I am very glad to have been selected the winning bidder after a rigorous selection process. Fans of Valencia can finally see an end to months of uncertainty.

"Today's voting, which overwhelmingly supported my bid, demonstrates a firm commitment from the stakeholders of the process, namely Bankia (Valencia's creditor), Valencia, the Valencia Foundation and Instituto Valenciano de Finanzas (the public credit policy arm of the city of Valencia's government).

"Under the process, the winner is the bidder with the best sporting, financial and social solutions. I'm pleased that we have won on these three criteria, and I would like to thank the Board of Trustees, the Valencia fans and the city for their strong support over the past few months."

He will also spend 50 million euros for signings, of which 45 million euros were already splashed on two Benfica players - striker Rodrigo Moreno, 22, and midfielder Andre Gomes, 20.

The Portuguese side sold the two players to a company called Meriton Capital, an investment vehicle owned by Mr Lim who is estimated to be worth US$2.05 billion (S$2.6 billion) by Forbes Singapore.

Moreno and Gomes are expected to be transferred to Valencia, which last won La Liga in 2004. Since then, only Barcelona and Real Madrid have won the league.

Yesterday's news marked the end of a saga that began last December when Mr Lim's interest in the club was made public by Valencia president Amadeo Salvo who said then: "Lim is very passionate about football. He has made us a proposal that will clear the debt owed by Valencia to Bankia, and will invest a significant amount in the first team immediately.

"It is one of the best two or three biggest offers made for a club in world football."

Valencia declined to reveal the identities of the other three bidders but sources indicate that they are Chinese cinema group Wanda, a Russian consortium and a private equity firm.

In 2010, Mr Lim made a £300 million (S$631 million) cash offer to buy Liverpool and was assured that his bid was "superior". But the Reds announced a deal with an American consortium later.

Peter Lim confirmed as new owner of Valencia CF

Channel NewsAsia, 25 Oct 2014

Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has been confirmed as the new owner of La Liga club Valencia. After about ten months of negotiations, Bankia, the club's main creditor, has agreed to sell 70 per cent of club shares to Meriton Holdings, Mr Lim's private investment company.

Both parties are expected to sign off on the best way to clear Valencia CF's €320 million debt. Valencia CF is in fourth position in the La Liga table, behind FC Barcelona, Sevilla and Real Madrid.

"It's official ladies and gentleman, Peter Lim is the new owner of Valencia CF," according to a post on the club's blog.

Spanish bank Bankia said in a statement on Friday: "Bankia, Valencia CF and Meriton today signed contracts to refinance the debt that the Club owes to the bank, and to partially finance the acquisition of 70.06 per cent stake of Valencia CF in the hands of FundaciĆ³n Valencia CF (Foundation Valencia CF)."

Lim's Meriton Holdings on Friday announced it signed the Sales and Purchase Agreement with Foundation Valencia CF (FVCF). All the key stakeholders are on board with Meriton's plan now, and the acquisition process enters "the final phase" of fulfilling the conditions precedent and concluding the necessary legal agreements and approvals from authorities, according to the joint press release issued by both parties.

Meriton Director Chan Lay Hoon said: "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. It was most heartening to have them behind us all the way despite the long negotiation process. We look forward to many exciting years of European football with our fans."

Commenting on the latest developments, FVCF President Aurelio Martinez said: "This is a momentous day for the Foundation and the football club. Peter has injected a new lease of life into Valencia CF and we know he is raring to do more. We share the club's and the fans' excitement about the future of Valencia CF."

The Singapore businessman will also be in attendance for Valencia's home game against Elche at the Mestalla Stadium on Saturday night (Oct 25). He will be hoping to see his new team get back on track in the La Liga after their shock 3-0 defeat to Deportivo La Coruna last weekend.


'Senor' Lim receives a hero's welcome at Valencia

By Wang Meng Meng, The Straits Times, 29 Oct 2014

IT IS a scene any Singaporean footballer can only dream about - a huge crowd chanting his name amid a big stadium in Europe.

Last Saturday, however, it was billionaire investor Peter Lim, who is set to finalise his ownership of Spanish La Liga side Valencia, who experienced that.

A YouTube video uploaded by the club shows the billionaire arriving at the Mestalla Stadium last Saturday night for the home game against Elche, which Valencia won 3-1. It has since garnered more than 17,000 views.

Earlier that day, it was confirmed that he had reached an agreement with Bankia - the Spanish bank that held most of the club's €200 million (S$323 million) debt - on the restructuring of the club's finances. That deal, in turn, has paved the way for him to buy a 70 per cent stake in Valencia.

Stepping out of a luxury sedan, Lim was giving a warm handshake and hug by Valencia president Amadeo Salvo. Cameras zoomed in on the masses of fans, who chanted the Singaporean's name feverishly, as if they were welcoming a new star striker.

Accompanied by his wife, former actress Cherie, Lim posed for photographs before being escorted to a balcony in the stadium, where he and Salvo waved to the delighted fans below.

The 61-year-old, estimated to be worth US$2.05 billion (S$2.6 billion) by Forbes Singapore, has bought Valencia for €420 million in total, with €200 million to clear the club's debts and £170 million to complete construction of a new stadium.

He has also splashed €45 million on two Benfica players - striker Rodrigo Moreno, 22, and midfielder Andre Gomes, 20.

Without a league title in 10 years and a trophy since the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup in 2008, Valencia were crippled by debt until Lim started buyout talks a year ago.

Rejuvenated by the hope offered by the Singaporean, Valenncia have surged up to fourth in the 20-team La Liga on 20 points, two points behind leaders Barcelona.

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