Sir John Madejski: Reading takeover not close

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
Reading chairman Sir John Madejski has resumed control of the Royals.

Reading chairman Sir John Madejski says the Championship club have no firm offers on the table as the search for new owners and investment continues.

Madejski, who owns 49% of the club, has been seeking new investment for several months as owner Anton Zingarevich looks to sell his 51% share in the Royals.

The club had been in talks with a consortium from the United States as well as one from Oman.

"There is no proposal on the table we are considering," said Madejski.

"We are looking all the time, it's an open secret we have had a lot of suitors and hopefully we will have a lot more but it's important we get it right."

Speaking to BBC South Today, Madejski revealed Zingarevich - who has not been seen at a game since September - was no longer involved with the club "on a day-to-day basis" but described their relationship as "cooperative".

Madejski added he was acting as Zingarevich's agent in an attempt to find suitors "with deep pockets" to take 100% control of the club.

A US consortium - understood to be fronted by American billionaire Joshua Harris - had also been interested in the club.

The sports entrepreneur, who owns NHL franchise New Jersey Devils, as well as NBA team Philadelphia 76ers, pulled out of a deal to buy Charlton in December 2013.

Harris, who spent around £500m buying his NBA and NHL franchises, is 222nd on Forbes' list of richest Americans with a net worth thought to be £1.5bn.

Zingarevich bought 51% of Reading in May 2012 and was to purchase the remaining 49% of shares from Madejski in September 2013, but he failed to complete the deal.

"There are no offers on the table as we speak but, in the meantime, we go from strength to strength on the pitch," said Madejski.

"We have a great team on and off the pitch and we are doing the best we can and are punching way above our level as usual."

Madejski, who became chairman of the club in 1990, added: "We are going to run the club like it used to be run, so that is very comforting.

"Running football clubs is not an easy thing. The Zingarevich family invested a lot of money and it will probably need a lot more and hence this is why we are trying to find someone who can take the club over with deep pockets and take the club to the next level."

Since the Russian became involved with the club in January 2012, Reading have been promoted to the Premier League, relegated back to the Championship and changed their manager.

Promotion to the top flight in 2012 earned the Royals an estimated £90m, with half that money coming from television-related revenue.

However, the club were relatively frugal when strengthening the squad for the Premier League and Madejski says the club are in no rush to find new owners.

"We will continue as long as it takes," he said.

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