Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Intermarket and West Ham United

David Byrne, Intermarket's company secretary, and one of its two founding directors claimed on Tuesday that it had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Rothschilds. Byrne said: "Some people were dismissing us as not being serious bidders but we are. We have satisfied them [Rothschilds] that we have proof of funds."

When Intermarket went public with its interest in West Ham several weeks ago, the claim was met with scepticism by sources at CB Holdings, the company that controls the club. They questioned Intermarket's intentions and made it clear that West Ham will not be sold cheaply.

It is understood that Intermarket value the club at £100 million – claiming that includes taking on debts that they estimate at £48 million and also the costs of the Carlos Tévez affair.

It means that the group of creditors who own West Ham would receive just over £30 million, which is far less than they are hoping to recoup and would be unacceptable.

Byrne said that the investors he represents will have the financial backing to improve the club's prospects in the transfer market and improve the squad, backing manager Gianfranco Zola.

"We have definitely got the interested parties with the money needed to do what we need to do and get in some funding to stop West Ham having to sell players and make sure they can strengthen to be able to avoid relegation," he said.

There has also been annoyance that Intermarket have not made public where their proposed funding is coming from but Byrne claimed on Tuesday that the information had now been passed on to Rothschilds.

He added that he represented "a group of investors from institutional level down to high net-worth individuals".

Byrne said: "We are West Ham supporters and are deadly serious and we believe we have satisfied Rothschilds that we are serious. This has been portrayed as an American bid (because of the involvement of a US financier Jim Bowe) but that's not the case. The Intermarket Group is London based."

Signing an NDA does not mean that Intermarket have been granted permission to start due diligence and does not mean that the company has to prove it has funding. There are also, according to sources, other potential bidders and investors who have been appointed along with Standard Bank, and who are trying to access the club's books.

Byrne claimed that he expected to see "official figures" next week which will lay out West Ham's finances and added that Intermarket were keen to try and finalise a deal before a creditors meeting on Dec 11.

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