ENIC undecided over club sale

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and owner Joe Lewis are thought to be undecided over whether they want to listen to offers for the whole club, sell a minority stake or remain in complete control.
Speculation is mounting that Spurs could be the latest ‘big six’ club to go on the market, following reported plans for a £3.5billion takeover bid by Iranian-American billionaire Jahm Najafi, as well as interest from Paris Saint-Germain’s Qatari owners in buying a minority stake.
Levy is understood to have held conversations with a number of interested parties in recent months, and there is a feeling from potential investors that he and Lewis are open to a deal — although Spurs deny the club is for sale and insist the pair remain fully committed.
Standard Sport has been told that prospective bidders believe Levy, who has indicated he would want to remain at the club in the event of any deal, and Lewis have not yet decided if they want to listen to offers for the club outright, seek a minority partner or do nothing.
All talks at this stage are said to be exploratory, with nothing expected to accelerate until Levy and Lewis have decided on a course of action.
ENIC, which is majority-owned by Bahamas-based billionaire Lewis and run by Levy, currently owns 86.6 per cent of the club, having initially bought 26 per cent for £21.9million in 2001. Seeking a minority investor would allow ENIC to raise capital while remaining in control, but may make it harder for Levy and Lewis to sell outright in the future.
Levy is understood to have discussed selling a minority stake with Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of PSG and chairman of Qatari Sports Investments, in London last month, although the club has denied this meeting took place.
QSI’s interest in investing in Spurs would not be impacted if Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani succeeds in a takeover of Manchester United.
On Friday, Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of a Qatari bank and the son of the country’s former prime minister, made a ‘substantial’ offer for 100 per cent of United, but sources in Qatar insist there is clear division between the bid and QSI, leaving the latter’s interest in Spurs unaffected.
The Financial Times reported last week that Najafi, chair of MSP Sports Capital, is preparing a bid for Spurs worth £2.5bn before adding about £517m of debt on the club’s books, aided by backers in the Gulf, mainly Abu Dhabi.
The figures are thought to be short of what Levy and Lewis are likely to consider acceptable, but Spurs insist the club has never been valued.
(London Evening Standard)
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