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PAI Capital will not give up on West Ham takeover bid

West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth – Premier League – London Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

The head of a consortium rebuffed by West Ham in February insists they will not give up in their attempt to buy the club.

PAI Capital made an approach to David Sullivan six months ago but it was dismissed as a “vague proposal” by the Hammers’ joint-owner, who insisted the group did not produce any proof of funds.

However, PAI managing partner Nasib Piriyev has broken his silence on the takeover bid and told the PA news agency that proof of funds was provided, while also claiming that West Ham gave the consortium full access to their business data for two months.

“If Mr Sullivan does not agree to our offer price, he has the full right to do so because the shares are his private property,” Piriyev said.

“Although I do believe any owner of a Premier League club and a brand of West Ham’s calibre must also feel a duty to the community and fans – but what he cannot do is simply say that we are not serious.

“That is false information, but we are not going to fall for this move and do not want to escalate any conflict.

“So, with all respect to Mr Sullivan, we will continue pursuing this opportunity and make our best efforts to get him to agree to our offer and sell his controlling stake of the club.”

Asked if PAI provided proof of funds, Piriyev added: “Of course we did. Otherwise why would the club officially provide us access to their data room for two whole months?

“Our team went though every smallest detail and analysed every aspect of the club’s operations – from top salary earners down to the smallest cost items.

“Based on this data and thorough analysis, we have developed our business plan for the club.

“I totally understand that the fans would like to know more about our plan and want to hear concrete figures and how much we will allocate to transfers etc.

“But there really is no point for us to make such announcements until we know we have agreed terms of purchase.”

Sullivan and fellow chairman David Gold have come under fire from sections of supporters following the move from Upton Park to the former Olympic Stadium in 2015.

However, things have improved on the pitch with manager David Moyes guiding the Hammers to sixth last season, qualifying for the Europa League.

Piriyev, a businessman from Azerbaijan who deals in petrochemicals, oil and gas and financial services, says he has supported West Ham since 1986 and wants to turn them into a regular top-six side.

He formed PAI Capital in 2019 and has the support of Hammers academy graduates Rio and Anton Ferdinand while Robin Brundle, the brother of ex-Formula One driver Martin Brundle, and former QPR chief executive Philip Beard are among the partners in the group.

“Our business model changes the way the club operates at the moment – it will become part of a larger set-up which guarantees much more viable and sustainable development so we can compete at the Premier League’s top-six level every season,” Piriyev said.

The PA news agency contacted West Ham and their stance remains the same, that they have not received a formal bid to buy the club and that Sullivan and Gold have no intention of selling.