QPR Seek Slice Of Mittal’s ¬£26bn
There had been some rumours regarding the possibility of another big investor coming in and then the following article, written by Tom Collomosse appeared in the ‘The Daily Telegraph’:-
Queens Park Rangers hope to persuade Lakshmi Mittal, the world’s fifth-richest man, to invest some of his estimated ¬£26 billion fortune in the Club. The Indian steel magnate was a guest of Rangers co-owners Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore for the 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Loftus Road last Saturday which left QPR bottom of the Championship. Mittal, 57, is a friend of Ecclestone after buying the Formula One rights holder’s ¬£70m house in Kensington. A Rangers source said, “The Club heard Mittal had been interested in Wigan and Everton, but this is a lot closer to home. He already knew Bernie from the time when he bought his house. The real worry is what Clubs are going to want for players when Rangers try to buy them.”
Ecclestone is thought to be worth about ¬£2.5 billion, while multi-millionaire Briatore is the Managing Director of the Renault F1 Team and has diverse business interests including fashion, nightclubs and pharmaceuticals. Were Mittal to be brought on board, Rangers spending power would dwarf even that of their West London rivals Chelsea, who are bankrolled by Roman Abramovich’s ¬£9.5 billion fortune. Mittal’s Kensington Gardens home is known as the “Taj Mittal” as it is decorated with the marble taken from the same quarry that supplied the Taj Mahal mausoleum in Agra, India. In June 2004, Mittal paid more than ¬£30 million to host his daughter Vanisha’s wedding. Even if Mittal, who has been linked with Birmingham City as well as Wigan Athletic and Everton, were not to get involved, QPR’s financial future appears secure, but it is the present which causes most concern.
Since appointing Italian Luigi de Canio to succeed John Gregory as Manager in October, Rangers have shown little improvement. De Canio is expected to invest heavily in new players during next month’s transfer window and he will be expected to lead a rapid upturn in Rangers’ results, as Ecclestone and Briatore are not accustomed to presiding over failing institutions. Since the pair took control of Rangers, they have attended the majority of home games. Briatore is frequently at the Club’s Harlington Training base near Heathrow Airport and holds regular discussions with his compatriot, De Canio.
Following this news in the public domain, the Club soon responded to this speculation by issuing a Statement later that day on the Official Website as follows: Queens Park Rangers Football Club is delighted to announce today (Thursday 20th December 2007) that the Mittal family has taken a 20% shareholding in QPR Holdings Limited alongside Mr Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Flavio Briatore and Sarita Capital. The Mittal Family will now be a significant shareholder in the Club. As part of the agreement, the Mittal Family have appointed Mr Amit Bhatia as a Director to the Board of the Club. Speaking on behalf of Queens Park Rangers Football Club, the Board of Directors said: “This investment in QPR by the Mittal Family is a great stepping-stone towards the future development of the Club and supports the ambition of the current shareholders to reach the Premier League in the new future. The new capital being invested in QPR will help fund the programme that is needed to help us achieve this target.”
On behalf of the Mittal Family, Mr Bhatia, who is Mr Lakshmi Mittal’s son-in-law, said: “The Family is excited about becoming involved with Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club. As a family we love sport and particularly enjoy English football and alongside Bernie and Flavio, we hope that we can improve the Club’s performance, with the ultimate ambition of a place in the Premier League.”