THE deal to buy Portsmouth Football Club is close to being done, it has emerged.
Keith Harris, chairman of investment bankers and stockbrokers Seymour Pierce, which has been given the job of finding new owners, said it could be done ‘within the next week’.
But in a statement given exclusively to The News, Convers Sports Initiatives, one of the groups which have held talks with Pompey with a view to buying the club, said it was only ‘one of a number of sporting interests around the world that we are investigating’.
In February The News revealed how businessmen Roman Dubov and Vladimir Antonov, alongside former Leicester chairman Chris Akers, were in the running to buy Pompey from current owner Balram Chainrai.
Dr Harris, who was formerly chairman of the Football League, said due diligence was being carried out on behalf of ‘an interested party’, which looks into Pompey’s finances to see whether the club would be a viable business proposition.
Carrying out due diligence can take months, rather than weeks, though The News understands it should be easier for potential buyers to investigate the Blues’ accounts because of the club’s time in administration.
Whilst Dr Harris did not say outright that the frontrunning bidder for the club was Convers, when asked he said he would ‘not dismiss’ that it was the Russian-backed company. He went on to say that the paperwork had been handed to the Football League. He said: ‘There’s very little left to be negotiated.’
However, a source close to the company told The News: ‘The process is ongoing with the club, due diligence is being done, but it certainly won’t be done within a week.
‘Perhaps he is doing a deal with someone else.’
It is understood that due diligence was carried out at a hotel in the city, rather than Fratton Park.
A source close to the club, who did not want to be identified, said: ‘Things have been going on behind the scenes for a while now and it could be the right timescale for a deal to be done.’