Cyprus Mail
Football

Tottenham scotch talk of Facebook-backed takeover

Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis (L) and chairman Daniel Levy

English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur have said they are not in takeover talks in response to a British media report that a potential buyer backed by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg is considering a 1 billion pounds ($1.29 billion) bid.

The Sunday Times reported that American investment firm Iconiq Capital had held talks with a number of buyout firms about a possible move for the club known as Spurs.

It said the San Francisco fund manages the wealth of several Silicon Valley billionaires, including the founder of Facebook.

In 2001 Bahamas-based Joe Lewis bought Tottenham through investment vehicle ENIC, which owns 85.55 percent of the club.

Tottenham finished second in the Premier League last season behind London rivals Chelsea to again qualify for the lucrative Champions League, European soccer’s elite club competition.

Spurs are building a 61,500-seat stadium on their existing White Hart Lane site for 800 million pounds and will use the national stadium at Wembley this season while the new ground is constructed for the club to use from the 2018-19 campaign.

Tottenham said on their website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com) on Sunday: “The club engaged Rothschild to secure the funding for the new stadium. As expected many proposals came forward including bank debt and equity investment.

“The club announced on 31 May 2017 the completion of the bank debt financing for the new stadium with a consortium of banks involving Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited, Goldman Sachs Bank USA and HSBC Bank plc.

“The Board believes this was the optimum solution in the interests of fans, employees and shareholders and for the continued development of the club. The Board is not in any discussions relating to a takeover offer for the club.”

Tottenham announced on May 31 that the club had signed a 400 million pounds, five-year loan to help finance the cost of building the new stadium, which is being purpose-built to also stage National Football League (NFL) games.

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