Manchester City is on the brink of becoming the world's richest football club after agreeing a takeover with Arab investment firm the Abu Dhabi United Group (Adug). The new owners will hand over £210bn to replace its previous owner, Thailand's former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is wanted in Thailand to face corruption charges but will remain on the club's board.
- The reaction?
It was widely known that Shinawatra was looking to relinquish control of the club, but the identity of the buyers and speed of the deal came as a complete surprise. A flurry of big-money transfer activity early in the week has already sold the club's fans on its new owners and the reception from the city has been similarly positive.
- Who are the PR players here?
City has its own PR team led by former ITV Sport PR chief Paul Tyrrell, but has recently looked to Phil Hall Associates to help former owner Shinawatra and its chairman Garry Cook. Adug can make use of the internal PR department of its parent firm Hydra Properties.
- What happens next?
Adug is a serious player in international finance and its foray into English football seems unlikely to be half-hearted. But not all heavily backed foreign owners have found English football to be entirely welcoming - while winning trophies has placated most of the hostile feelings among Manchester United fans against the club's American owner Malcolm Glazer, Liverpool's American owners and Shinawatra himself found their public image more problematic. Adug will want results to go its way, or it could find itself needing to conduct a concerted PR offensive.
£210bn - Amount Adug is paying to take over Manchester City.