UAE billionaire 'to buy Portsmouth'

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The Independent Football

Abu Dhabi billionaire Sulaiman al-Fahim has signed a deal to buy Premier League Portsmouth, a Dubai-based magazine reported today, citing a source close to him. A spokesman for the English club was unable to confirm the report in Arabian Business.

The magazine said Fahim, a board member of the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development that bought Manchester City last year, had been "putting the final touches to the takeover" with Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak.

Both men were in Rome for the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United.

"He did the Man City deal and got the taste for football. He has followed the Premier League very closely since then, and has been looking for a club to get involved in," Arabian Business quoted the source as saying.

"Portsmouth is a great club, with great history and great potential. It's something he is very excited about, and I am sure all the Portsmouth fans will be equally excited."

The magazine said the deal was being done through Fahim's new investment vehicle Al Fahim Asia Associates (AAA) and "has been structured by specialist international private equity and asset management firm Falcon Group". Fahim is expected to take over as chairman of the club shortly after completion of the deal, the publication said, adding that the new owner will focus on "stabilising the club's current squad, with many players out of contract at the end of this season".

The magazine's website (www.arabianbusiness.com) said an official announcement was expected by the club within the next few hours.

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