Crystal Palace deny takeover talks with Shinawatra, but new money is an option

May 15 – Crystal Palace have said that they are not in negotiation on a £150 million takeover deal involving former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra.

However, majority owner Steve Parish reportedly would be interested in new investment in the club as US shareholders Josh Harris and David Blitzer are looking to sell their 36% stake.

Harris and Blitzer also own the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Philadelphia 76ers and the National Hockey League’s (NHL) New Jersey Devils through their Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment company, and each own 18% of Palace.

Miti Tiyapairat, ex-president of Thai club Chiangrai United, told the One31 TV network, that talks to buy Palace were taking place around a price point of £150 million, though not all the elements of the deal had been worked out. Tiyapairat is linked with former Manchester City owner Shinawatra who sold Man City to its current Abu Dhabi owners for £200 million in 2008.

Parish is leading a planned £100 million redevelopment of Selhurst Park that will increase the stadium’s capacity from 26,000 to more than 34,000, as well as investing in a makeover of the club’s training ground.

Palace finished the season in 12th position, their highest place since their return to the top flight in 2013.

Staying in the Premier League has been a battle with this season being the first that has positioned them safely clear of the relegation zone for most of the campaign under veteran manager Roy Hodgson.

But the stability has come at a cost with the club reporting a substantial 2017-18 loss, as the cost of last season’s successful survival push under Hodgson took its toll on financial performance.

The south-east London club posted a pre-tax loss of £35.5 million – one of the biggest of the top-tier clubs in the reported 2017-18 results – against a profit of £11.8 million the year before.

The near £50 million difference was largely the consequence of player transfer activities. Whereas 2016-17 had produced a near £35 million profit on player sales, last season generated just £2.4 million. At the same time, the arrival of players such as former Liverpool man Mamadou Sakho pushed up amortisation costs.

All that pressures Parish’s financial resources and most likely prompted the Americans to review their position. This makes the raising of new money more important though not a necessity.

On the playing side, Palace’s the new-found league stability will support the financial risk but the club will want to hold on to coveted striker Wilfried Zaha over the summer.

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