That Björgólfur Guðmundssons is going to sell West Ham has been a certain thing more or less since the collapse of the Icelandic financial system was first acknowledged in October. I for one was certain that BG would sell West Ham at first chance to be able to rescue his crumbling financial empire, and maybe he did start the sale-machinery early, we’ll never know for certain no matter how many autobiographies are written.
At least we know that when the bankrupt holding company Hansa ehf, applied for a moratorium in December BG stated that a sale process had been started, and it was said that 5 different parties had signed "non-disclosure agreements" meaning that they had asked to do a preliminary assessment of the clubs economy. If these interested parties were all BG’s friends just doing him a favour, claim owners checking the possibilities or genuinely interested buyers is anyone’s guess. Asgeir Fridgeirsson, vice president of the board of West Ham said on March 4th, in connection with the last (?) prolongation of the moratorium, that “There is interest from many investors…”. All of these statements are of course necessary to keep any investors from being overconfident in the bargaining process, or to keep the courts and the claim owners believing that there is still some gold at the end of the rainbow - if they are patient.
We can conclude that a sale was not imminent in December, but at that point there were so much uncertainty about the size of the payment to Sheffield about Tevez, Now at least that issue has cleared up, making an investment in the club a less insecure venture.
BG, or his errand boys, have recently said there will be no sale until the summer. Unfortunately he doesn’t tell us why. But a not too wild guess is that there is no one even closely meeting his selling criteria and he has no longer than june before he loses the control over Hansa.
Up to now there has of course been much speculation on who those interested parties are. If you, like myself, is an avid reader of the KUMB thread “West Ham for Sale” you know that an English consortium and an “Asian billionaire” has been mentioned more often than others.
The existence of that Consortium has been cast in doubt by some, but others claim, as did the Guardian, that there certainly is one and they are willing to invest £100 million in the club. In the ITK battle at KUMB one of the posters warned us against believing everything that was said in the newspapers the upcoming days as “all sides have their own people installed!!”, failing to issue the same warning about ITK people at KUMB. Am I only imagining things or has the language of some posters changed considerably?
The consortium is supposedly fronted by someone with West Ham connections. The ones claiming there is a consortium never mention any names themselves stating that their sources won’t give them any, confirming that the sources, or the sources’ sources, knows full well what will happen to the information and only “leak” what is in their best interest. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bollocks but one should beware. This consortium is supposed to have been interested all along, meaning from November/December, and still names have not been leaked! Very discreet indeed, or are there no names to leak?
The main suspect for being the“Asian billionaire” is Anil Ambani. Ambani was put forward as a potential buyer already in October, and resurfaced in December as one of the candidates to take over. In October he was listed by Forbes as the 6th richest man on the planet but now the financial crisis has taken three quarters of last years “biggest billionair gainer’s” assets, making Anil this years biggest loser, leaving the poor fellow with little more than $10 billion worth of assets.
According to some sources this doesn’t stop him from making huge investments though. And as Forbes states, maybe somewhat redundantly, "[Anil Ambani] remains quite wealthy... That is something many others can't claim".
I still have problems seeing that these, in their own eyes, struggling billionaires can bother buying a football club. One of the things that made Anil rise in last years Forbes index is efficient and enthusiastic building of an empire, and I can’t see this being a part of that. On the other hand, being voted the (EDITED, please see comments below, “happiest and healthiest man" has been deleted in this post) “number one role model for happiness and health in business" by India based magazine “Complete Wellbeing” (can one vote on anything?) he sounds like the business equivalent of Gianfranco Zola – a match made in heaven?
I fail to draw any conclusions out of this (not the” happy” part, the other stuff!). If there is one to draw it is that at least that there isn’t any cash rich buyer really interested in acquiring us at the moment, but you all knew this even before suffering though this post. Consider it a critical review.