The Daily Mirror, via David Anderson, are claiming that a Hong Kong based pharmaceuticals group, Rui Kang, are to take ownership of the club in a deal valued at £75 million in the coming days. The article goes on to claim they will also appoint Damien Comolli (discussed here) in some sort of Director of Football role, replacing Paddy Riley/Reilly.
The article suggests that RK are owned by the Chinese government, although this is possibly outdated, as a larger Hong Kong based pharmaceuticals company, China Wah Yan have recently aquired all the shares in RK they did not already own (up until March they had about 20% of the company).
Further, the article then claims
They (RK) tried to buy Villa last year, but Lerner pulled out of the deal when the Chinese Stock Market crashed.
Rui Kang have maintained their interest and have gone through due diligence on Villa’s accounts.
Anderson is contradicting his colleague James Nursey here, as this time last year Nursey was suggesting it was Wanda Group's owner Wang Jianlin who was about to buy the club.
As for RK themselves, there are significant question marks on how they would put together the capital to purchase Aston Villa at the quoted price, even with the backing of CWY. As per markets.ft.com's data here (for RK) and here (for CWY), the former's assets are valued at around £50m and the latter £100m. Even in the unlikely scenario they liquidated all their assets, both combined would only just have the money to buy the club, let alone run it in a fashion in which it would be a viable asset to increase in value and then offload for a profit at a later date.
Putting two and two together would suggest either there's more money hidden away behind this, or it just isn't true at all. Bear in mind only last week we were told by Hollis:
"There has been no shortage of parties who would like to own Aston Villa but our negotiations are now with those parties that we believe will have the passion and ambition to return the Club to winning the highest honours in European football.
RK certainly don't fit that bill, or at least they don't with the information we have readily available to us.
We did approach Rui Kang for comment, but we have yet to receive any response. We're not holding out too much hope.
As an aside, the article also suggested that Pearson may have had his head turned by the idea of returned to Middlesbrough, the club at which he spent 4 years at and finished his playing career. Whilst he remains the favourite for the AVFC job according to the press, there has been recent movement on the betting markets backing Roberto Di Matteo, which could be an indicator of some movement on the takeover front.
Should anything further come of this, expect to see it here.