Abu Dhabi group interested in buying Panathinaikos

Just a few days after the bid by Saudi Prince Sultan al-Saud, an Abu Dhabi-based fund on September 30 expressed its interest in acquiring all of Panathinaikos’s shares.

Giorgos Georgiou, the representative of a foreign investment fund from the United Arab Emirates, went to the Panathinaikos headquarters on Friday morning and submitted a folder containing all details about the fund’s expression of interest in 90 percent of the club’s shares, as the rest must by law stay in the hands of the Panathinaikos amateur division.

Panathinaikos confirmed that it had received the folder and its lawyers are already looking through it in order to establish whether it contains all the guarantees required for the fund’s interest to be considered seriously. All signs are that this may well be another serious bid for the Athens giant.

The Abu Dhabi firm is reportedly planning a mammoth 5-billion-euro investment in the Greens, compared with the Saudi prince’s 220-million-euro plans. The prince has bid for a 54.7 percent stake in the club.

The representative of the prince’s bid, Vlassis Tsakas, went on record Friday to stress that the prince has tabled an official offer, whereas the rival proposal is no more than a mere expression of interest. «This is just a trick to impress people,» he said in dismissive fashion.

Arabs have shown a keen interest in European soccer in the last decade, acquiring major clubs such as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and Malaga, but this will be the first time there are two rival Arab bids for the same club.