Rival consortium leapfrogs American firm in takeover battle for Burnley Football Club

A rival consortium, fronted by lawyer Chris Farnell and Egyptian businessman Mohamed El Kashashy, appear to have leapfrogged American sports investment company ALK Capital as favourites to buy Burnley Football Club.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 6:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 6:38 pm
Mike Garlick with Alastair Campbell

ALK had been in advanced negotiations with chairman Mike Garlick and fellow main shareholder John Banaszkiewicz, as they stole a lead on Farnell and El Kashashy, who saw an application to take over Charlton Athletic rejected by the EFL in August.

At the time, the EFL said three individuals, including Manchester businessman Paul Elliott, were “subject to a disqualifying condition”.

That meant he was unable to be a director of an English club, but Farnell has successfully overturned the ban, on an administrative error, as he was found not to have intentionally failed to tick a box that he had briefly been a director of the group that tried to buy Charlton.

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That leaves the way for Farnell and El Kashashy to push ahead with a £200 million bid for Burnley.

ALK Capital remain in talks with the club, and speculation that they haven’t got the required funds is believed to be wide of the mark.

Last November, Alan Pace, Citi's global head of securities services sales, and a former director at Lehman Brothers, left the US bank after 11 years, with hopes of investing in a Premier League club.

Earlier in 2019, Pace set up ALK Capital with US businessman Dave Checketts, with ALK keen on buying Sheffield United.

Pace and Checketts were part of the team that established MLS franchise Real Salt Lake back in 2004 - Pace served as interim president and alongside Checketts helped negotiate links with Real Madrid.

Checketts has also worked with basketball team, the Detroit Pistons, and was involved with another NBA franchise, New York Knicks, as well as ice hockey side New York Rangers, when he served as chief executive of the firm that owned the two.

ALK Capital have bought AiScout and Player LENS, two digital player recruitment platforms, and on October 1st, Calder Vale Holdings was incorporated, with Pace one of three directors - Calder Vale was where Burnley played before moving to Turf Moor in 1883.

Farnell, who specialises in sports law, on the other hand, has represented Cristiano Ronaldo, after his move to Manchester United, Roberto Martinez and boxer Tyson Fury, was the lead lawyer on the sale of Swansea City, and was lawyer to Bury as management tried to save the club at the start of last season.

El Kashashy has made his money in food, with franchises in the UAE, and has previously worked for Coca-Cola in Egypt and Procter & Gamble in the UAE.