City up for Sale?
City have responded to speculation linking them with a Thai takeover by releasing a statement to the stock exchange confirming talks are taking place.
The full statement reads as follows :
24 April 2007
Manchester City PLC ('Manchester City' or the 'Company')
The Board of Manchester City notes certain recent press articles attributing comments to Manager, Stuart Pearce regarding the possibility of an offer being made for the Company. Further to the Company`s announcements on 7 December 2006 and 21 February 2007, the Board of Manchester City confirms that it remains in preliminary discussions with third parties that may or may not lead to an offer being made for the Company.
There is no additional information to be disclosed by the Board at this stage but a further announcement will be made in due course, as appropriate.
It is being widely reported in today`s press that the new frontrunner in takeover talks is ex City player, Ray Ranson. Ranson is believed to be the front man of a consortium prepared to offer £92 million for control of the club.
Ex Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is reported to be preparing an offer for the blues after the much publicised collapse of his attempts to buy Liverpool.
It is also believed that there remains a strong American interest in City.
What is interesting is the mention of Stuart Pearce`s name in the statement. The board are clearly upset at his comments last week that fuelled takeover speculation. Apparently there was significant movement in share prices following Pearce`s interview and the board have been forced to release a statement in line with stock market regulations.
Whatever happens from here it is quite clear that Premiership safety has hastened talks with the relevant parties. If it is to be Wardle`s last act let us hope he gets the deal that is best for Manchester City. Much as I would love to see investment and ambition running through this club I do not want to see us as being another step on the route to American franchising of the Premiership.