Miguel Zorío offers Peter Lim €250m to buy Valencia CF

Valencian businessman Miguel Zorío has offered Peter Lim €250m to buy Valencia CF. The Singaporean tycoon has until the end of February to respond. By Eugene Costello

Businessman Miguel Zorío has offered Peter Lim €250m to buy Valencia CF. The proposal would leave 51% of the shares in the hands of the fans, take the business public and complete the new Mestalla in Benicalap. Partially built, it has stood as a white elephant for the past 15 years.

This is the latest attempt to buy the club from the controversial Singaporean owner who has proved so unpopular with fans. It comes from Valencian businessman Miguel Zorío. Lim has to respond to the offer by the end of February at the latest . Initially the proposal was until 30 January,and it includes a plan of action to democratise the club and return it to the hands of the fans. Zorío’s offer guarantees the financing of the €250m, backed by Bravo Capital, which signed the proposal on 22 December.

Man who can? Valencian businessman Miguel Zorío

The Valencian businessman submitted the offer to Lim on 19 December with the aim of acquiring the Singaporean tycoon’s shares, and reflecting the loans that Lim’s Meriton Holdings has granted to Valencia. In his offer, Zorío demands from Lim a period of exclusivity in the negotiation of the purchase and thereafter a period of ninety business days to carry out a complete audit  and due diligence of the business.

The €250m purchase proposal submitted by Miguel Zorío for the purchase of Meriton’s shares and loans is valid until Tuesday 30 January, although the Valencian businessman’s plan is to extend it for another month. At the moment, Zorío is awaiting a response from Lim, Valencia C’Fs majority shareholder.

A well-backed proposal

Bravo Capital, one of the investment arms of Toro Finance behind this offer, aims to guarantee future financial backing for the Mestalla club. It has been in the hands of Lim for a decade. 

Unpopular: Present owner Peter Lim

Part of the proposal is to create a securities company that guarantees the takeover and Zorío’s plan to democratise the club in the event that Lim accepts his purchase offer. The proposal comes in three phases. Once they have a majority stake in Valencia CF, the aim is for the contracted securities company to place 51% of the shares, the majority, among shareholders, members and fans of the La Liga club.

Proposal would give voice to fans

In a second phase, once fans have a majority stake, the aim would be to place another part of the share capital “among investors who support the sporting and economic growth of the club, giving preference to sponsors and with a repurchase agreement once we finalise sponsorship contracts,” says the document.

The third move would be to bring a third minority package to the market with “the greatest possible dilution”, meaning the distribution would be wide. One of the conditions is that the investors in any of the three phases will not have any right to intervene in the sporting management of Valencia Club de Fútbol. Zorío’s proposal includes an IPO, which would take place in parallel to the construction of the new Mestalla. This should take no more than three years.

First offer on the table

This is the first time since the arrival of the Singaporean tycoon at Mestalla that anyone has put a proposal for the purchase of the club on the table that is visible with data, deadlines and money.

Businessman Miguel Zorío has been pursuing a proposal to buy the club from Meriton Holdings, the company that won the sale process in 2014 and reached an agreement with Bankia for the sale of the club. Since Lim’s arrival at Valencia, the club finds itself in millions in debt. The new stadium has yet to restart construction work, putting the club in danger of losing its bid to host the 2030 World Cup. At the sporting level, the club has devalued its aspirations to the point of becoming a mid-table La Liga club with little chance of getting into Europe. It is also flirting with relegation, as last season when it survived the drop in the very last league game.

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