OIL billions may have transformed Chelsea and Manchester City into global superpowers but Blackburn believe they have found a saviour in an altogether less glamorous industry: chicken.
Indian poultry giant Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group, or Venky’s as it is often known, expects to complete a £46m takeover of the top flight strugglers next month. It would end the club’s three-year search for a buyer and make the purchasers the first Indian owners of a Premier League team.
Venky’s has undertaken due diligence at Ewood Park after several rounds of talks with Rovers chiefs. Two previous Indian suitors – Saurin Shah and Ahsan Ali Syed – looked at the club but failed to buy.
Anuradha J Desai, Venky’s chairperson, said: “We expect to be the first Indian company to acquire a Premier League team and we are particularly delighted that the team is Blackburn Rovers, with whom we believe we have many shared values and ambitions.”
Indian buyers are thought to have been attracted to Blackburn partly by the area’s large Asian population.
Blackburn chairman John Williams said: “Both parties are hopeful that the transaction will be completed in November.”
WHO ARE THEY? | VENKY’S GROUP
Venky’s is Asia’s largest poultry conglomerate with a turnover of £1bn and profits of £118m at the last count
They don’t just do chicken: Venky’s also produce eggs, nutritional products and animal pellet feed
Venky’s has major contracts with McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Dominos in India
Dr BV Rao founded the company with a modest seven-acre poultry farm in Hyderabad 39 years ago
Within a year he and his wife Uttradevi had amassed a 70 per cent market share
Dr Rao died in 1996 and the group is now overseen by his daughter, Anuradha Desai