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Indian owner for Rovers?

A little-known Indian entrepreneur is hoping to clinch a deal worth between 35 and 45 million pounds to buy English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers, a source familiar with the matter told AFP.

cricket Updated: Jul 20, 2010 00:10 IST

A little-known Indian entrepreneur is hoping to clinch a deal worth between 35 and 45 million pounds to buy English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers, a source familiar with the matter told AFP. Saurin Shah, 38, a businessman with shipping and textile interests, plans to bring a touch of Bollywood glamour to the English team and will try to engage South Asians living in the gritty northern town.

Shah is the nephew of Niranjan Shah, vice-chairman of the wildly popular Indian Premier League cricket tournament, and he hopes to import some of the marketing techniques if he is successful with his bid, the source said.

The process of due diligence — which opens up the club's financial accounts for evaluation to a potential buyer — has begun, the well-placed source said over the weekend on condition of anonymity.

“Once this is complete, Saurin Shah and his consortium will make a fresh bid for Blackburn,” the source told AFP. The 35 to 45-million-pound deal (54-69 million dollars) includes debt, the source added, without elaborating. It is understood that Shah, who declined to comment, made an initial approach to the club offering about 25 million pounds.

The Mumbai-based businessman had approached brokers in London about buying a club in the English game's top flight and settled for Blackburn because of its growth potential.

Blackburn Rovers, who won the EPL in 1994-1995, finished 10th last season. But the club has had a quiet close season, with manager Sam Allardyce signing no new players with funds tight. A successful bid from Shah could see the introduction of a “high-growth revenue model” along IPL lines, the source added.