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Billionaire Lim seals Valencia takeover

The protracted takeover saga surrounding Spanish Liga football club Valencia has drawn to a close with Singapore businessman Peter Lim agreeing a deal to acquire a 70.4 per cent stake in the debt-ridden team.

Lim’s Meriton Holdings group has acquired the shares from the Valencia Foundation. The foundation’s members voted for his proposal ahead of six other bids, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. A club spokesman told the Reuters news agency that Lim will now have to agree a deal with creditors Bankia, who are owed €220m ($305.8m). Valencia’s total debt is around €360m.

Lim has long been tied to a move for Valencia and was previously linked with a takeover bid for English second-tier Championship club Middlesbrough in July and English Premier League club Liverpool three years ago. He said: “Through this process, the winning offer is that which has the best sporting, economic and social solutions. I am very happy that we have fit this criteria with the best offer and want to thank the Valencia CF fans and Valencia as a city for their strong support over these past months.”

Lim’s takeover comes after Valencia unveiled a scaled back redesign for its long-delayed Nuevo Mestalla stadium project in November. The club’s highly publicised financial difficulties resulted in work ceasing on the 75,000-seat stadium in 2008, two years after it was initially unveiled. Under the terms of the new design, seating capacity will be reduced from 75,000 to 65,000 and he cost of the facility has also been scaled back by €60m to €200m. The stadium was initially due to be completed in 2009-10.

Valencia reached the semi-finals of this season’s Uefa Europa League, but finished eighth in La Liga – 41 points behind champion Atletico Madrid.