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Indian firm complete takeover of English club Blackburn

Indian brothers Balaji Rao (L) and Venkatesh Rao (R), Directors of Venky's, watch Blackburn's match with Chelsea.
Indian brothers Balaji Rao (L) and Venkatesh Rao (R), Directors of Venky's, watch Blackburn's match with Chelsea.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Indian poultry firm Venky's complete a takeover of Blackburn Rovers
  • English club become first in the Premier League's history to have Indian owners
  • The deal ends the late Jack Walker's long association with the club

(CNN) -- Poultry firm Venky's have become the first ever Indian owners of an English Premier League club after they completed a $36 million takeover of Blackburn Rovers.

The deal was confirmed on Rovers' website Friday as the club's board announced it had sold its 99.9% shareholding to Venky's London Limited, a newly formed company owned by the Rao family of India.

Venky's paid 17.17 pence (27 cents) a share and will now make an equivalent offer to the minority shareholders. They have a range of business interests in India and overseas but their flagship company is Venkateshwara Hatcheries Private Limited.

The takeover ends Rovers' long association with previous owner Jack Walker, who died in 2000. He turned the club into a top flight force, culminating in their Premiership title victory under Kenny Dalglish in the 1994/95 season.

Walker established a trust in his own name to take over the running of the club after his death but the sale has now allowed an Indian firm to make their Premier League debut.

We are delighted, proud and humbled to be associated with Blackburn Rovers
--Anuradha J Desai, Chairperson of Venky's
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Paul Egerton-Vernon, Chairman of the Jack Walker Settlement Trustees, told the club's website: "We are very pleased to be passing on the Rovers to the Rao family.

"We have been impressed with their enthusiasm for the club and their plans and ideas for future investment to develop it further as well as their wish and commitment to preserve the legacy of Jack Walker.

"Over the last 10 years, the global appeal of the Premier League has grown significantly and it is only natural that, as we have seen at other clubs, international ownership and investment should increase."

Anuradha J Desai, the Chairperson of Venky's, said: "We are delighted, proud and humbled to be associated with Blackburn Rovers, a team with whom we share many values and ambitions.

"Going forward we plan to focus on leveraging the global influence in establishing Blackburn Rovers as a truly global brand. We will absolutely respect the Jack Walker legacy and will be actively supporting the organization to ensure that Blackburn Rovers remains one of the best run clubs within the Premier League.

"Blackburn Rovers is an historic institution that has won the Premier League and we want the fans to embrace us so that we are able to do our best in the interests of the club."