IPL 2008 winners Rajasthan Royals are eyeing an extraordinary takeover bid of the Yorkshire county cricket club in England and if all goes well, it would be the first-ever instance of a cricket club in the United Kingdom being owned by an overseas franchise.
As per a report in Daily Mail, the IPL franchise have offered Yorkshire around 25 million pounds (₹260 crore approx), which — unlike other investment proposals the club have received — would see the Royals take full control at Headingley, ending its 160 years as a members’ club.
Yorkshire under 15 million pound debt
It was revealed last week that Yorkshire were considering selling Headingley to former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to raise funds to pay off 15 million pound owed to the family trust of former chairman Colin Graves.
“They have also held talks over taking loans from other IPL franchises and a Saudi Arabian Prince, Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud. While those proposals would ensure Yorkshire remain in the hands of their members, Rajasthan are seeking complete control.”
“They would provide a convertible loan note to Yorkshire to service the Graves debt, which would be switched to equity at a future date. The precise size of Rajasthan’s equity stake would be determined by market conditions at the time of conversion, but they are understood to want a majority shareholding,” said the report.
Yorkshire considering RR's offer
It added that Yorkshire’s executive team are considering the offer, and will put in front of the board later this month, who would vote on whether to accept the offer or not. “Rajasthan have plans to bring in their own executives to run the club, which would have implications for director of cricket Darren Gough and coach Ottis Gibson,” said the report.
Rajasthan Royals also have stakes in overseas T20 leagues - like the Barbados Royals in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the Paarl Royals in South Africa (SA20), and are believed to be exploring investing in the Hundred in England for some time.
Rajasthan Royals owners
They are majorly owned by London-based businessman Manoj Badale through his company Emerging Media, while RedBird Capital and Lachlan Murdoch are also investors in the franchise.
“Rajasthan’s offer is timely because the ECB have made no secret of their desire to attract overseas investment, particularly to the eight Hundred franchises, which are owned and funded by the governing body.”
“The ECB have also indicated they would be willing to hand over control of the Hundred franchises to their constituent counties to reduce running costs, which would be attractive to Rajasthan. Taking over at Yorkshire would give them control over an iconic international venue and provide a cut-price route into Hundred ownership,” concluded the report.