Over the weekend, Stan Collymore reported that Larry Ellison was in attendance for Saturday's 3-1 Aston Villa win over Hull City. If true, the report could certainly be an intriguing twist in a takeover saga that has never progressed beyond the rumour phase. Ellison, the founder of Oracle Corporation, is the world's fifth wealthiest man, valued at a reported £28.45 billion. That number is significantly higher that the amassed wealth of all of the other rumoured buyers we've been able to put names to.
For Ellison, a venture into Aston Villa wouldn't be his first into the world of sports, as he is also the primary investor in the Oracle yachting team that has seen great success in recent years. To give you a glimpse of the wealth that we are talking about, Ellison owns 98% of the sixth largest of the Hawaiian islands, a 288-foot yacht that was a downgrade from his previous 453-footer, and two military jets, including a MiG 29.
So you know. Kind of a big deal. If Ellison is indeed interested in buying Aston Villa, he would be able to fulfill Randy Lerner's reported asking price of £200 million by using less than 1% of his wealth. I've seen some people say that Ellison doesn't really have that much money since he has reportedly set aside 95% of his wealth into a trust for charity. But do the math. That still leaves him with £1.42 billion to throw around.
And if that money made its way into the ownership of Aston Villa it could change the face of the club immeasurably. But here's the point at which I have to force us into a bit of a reality check. Collymore seems like a pretty decent guy, and he's a fan favorite for many Villans. He played for Villa, he grew up a Villa fan, and he's not afraid to show his Villa pride loudly and proudly. But as a TalkSport host, he's not always the most reliable of rumourmongers. He was largely behind fanning the flames of the "Villa are going to be bought by Red Bull" thing, for instance.
But there is no reason for him to have made up Ellison being in the stands at Villa Park. I'm not convinced that there's even any connection (perhaps Ellison just wanted to see some first-rate football? No? Okay okay), but if he was there it opens up a lot of scintillating possibilities.
With the possibility of a takeover surrounding the club and promises of statements after the season is over, Sunday can't come quickly enough.