clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Could an American joint bid for Villa be back on the cards?

Micky Arison and Larry Elison's names have resurfaced in rumours about Villa's ownership future after the former sold £6 million in Carnival shares. But does his liquidisation of funds really mean he's after the Claret and Blues?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Over the past couple of weeks, the most relevant news we've heard on the Aston Villa takeover was that Lerner was slashing his valuation of the club to £150 million and looking to the Middle East for potential investors. But while that report may still be true, we've seen one of the first takeover rumours start to resurface itself as the Telegraph has suggested that Micky Arison has offloaded £6 million in Carnival stocks in preparation for a joint bid with Larry Ellison.

If even just Arison is interested in Villa—Forbes has him valued at just over £4 billion through his Carnival empire—that's great for the club. He's worth significantly more than Randy Lerner—whose net worth doesn't even total £1 billion—and unlike Lerner, his Miami Heat teams have a track record of nothing but success. Since Arison took over the Heat in 1995, they've made the playoffs in 16 of 19 seasons, won their division 11 times, and are gunning for their fourth NBA title.

Granted, a large part of that is due to the fact that with the exception of the 2002-03 season, the Heat have either had hall-of-famer Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade, or LeBron James since Arison took over—and often more than one of them—but you can't discount the fact that unlike Lerner, he's put his money in the right hands in Miami as hall-of-fame coach Pat Riley has served as team president and de facto GM since Arison took over.

I haven't even touched on the possibility of Ellison buying the club because it's the rumour that I hate as I have absolutely no idea why it would happen. Unless he's helping a friend out in Lerner—and I don't think they're friends—I just can't see the world's fifth-richest man buying Villa. But if it would happen, Villa would have someone worth £30 billion in charge and someone who owns the team that's won the last two America's Cups. And those cost him a lot of money.

In addition to telling us Arison's net worth, however, Forbes also mentioned that in February, the Heat owner talked about selling 10 million shares of Carnival stock—something that depending on how you look at it could either strengthen or weaken the rumour that he's after Villa. Granted, Carnival stocks are high after taking a tumble following the Costa Concordia in 2012 and the "Poop Cruise" last year, but it's decently likely that Arison's been liquidising some of his fortune to do something. Whether that something is buying Villa remains to be seen. But even as a Cleveland sports fan who hates Arison and the Heat, yeah, I'd love for this to happen.

Do I think it will happen? Probably not—especially not as a joint bid with Ellison. But if you held a gun to my head and told me I had to pick the guy that'll end up buying Villa, Arison might be my response. It's partially wishful thinking but it also remains to me the most plausible name that's been thrown around. His wealth is in the right ballpark, he already has shown an interest sports through his Heat ownership, and at 64 years old, if he wants to do anything else in the sports world, this would be the time to do it. But, just like everything else for the takeover, we'll just ultimately have to wait and see.