Holborn to advise bidders on Aston Villa takeover

Entrepreneur Richard Thompson and former Manchester City footballer Ray Ranson, who are making a joint bid for Aston Villa Football Club, have drafted in PR support as they mull over an improved bid for the Premiership side.

Holborn PR is advising Ranson and Thompson, who last month made a £33m bid for the club. Holborn chief executive David Bick is leading the account. Seymour Pierce is financial adviser to the bidders and retains Holborn as its financial PR adviser.

Thompson is a former chairman of Queen’s Park Rangers and famous for the acquisition of fashion and clothing brands Jaeger and Viyella.

Ranson made over 200 appearances as a defender for Manchester City but quit his football career after an injury in 1995. He has since set up his own financing business.

Aston Villa rejected the Thompson/Ranson offer at the end of March, arguing that the bid undervalued the club.

Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis and his family retain a stake of around 38 per cent in the club.

Buchanan Communications has advised Aston Villa for the last six years. The account is led by Buchanan director Mark Edwards.

‘We feel that we can take the club forward and that the price we are paying is a very fair offer,’ Thompson told PRWeek.

Some Aston Villa fans have called on Ellis to sell his stake in the club over concerns that he may lose team manager David O’Leary.

The fans believe that Ellis has not made enough funds available to O’Leary to build the squad.

Since O’Leary took over as manager in May 2003, Aston Villa’s fortunes have transformed from facing the prospect of relegation from the Premiership to a possible place in the European Champions League.

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