Reading up for sale for just £1

Anton Zingarevich has put his 51% share of Reading Football Club up for sale for just £1.

Anton Zingarevich has put up his 51% share of Reading Football Club for sale - for just £1.

The Russian billionaire, who founded the company Thames Sport Investment, purchased a majority share in the club from John Madejski in 2012. He oversaw the Royals' preparations for their return to the Premier League in 2012, personally meeting with Pavel Pogrebnyak to secure his signing.

Despite the investment of a reported £25 million in the club, Reading suffered immediate relegation and failed in their attempt for promotion in 2014. And now it appears as if the Russian has lost interest in the club, putting them up for sale for just £1.

However, any prospective buyer has to be willing to take on the £38m worth of debt the club has racked up in recent years, as well as complete the deal as quickly as possible.

According to the Daily Mail, the favourite to gain control of the Royals is Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi, who made his money through Playtech Corp. Playtech provides the software for bookmakers' websites and gambling machines, and Sagi's fortune allowed him to purchase Camden Market earlier this year for £400m.

A Chelsea fan, the 41-year old owns a corporate box at Stamford Bridge, and sees the purchase of Reading as a real estate opportunity as much as the adoption of a new club.

The bid tabled by Sagi includes plans to build a shopping centre and hotel in the Madejski Stadium car park, and to develop Reading's Hogwood Park training ground into a housing estate.

The plans to create an entire society around the Madejski Stadium bears striking similarities to the notions Ken Bates had for Chelsea Village - a self-contained club village with accommodation and shopping opportunities surrounding the Chelsea Football Club.

There is still no information concerning the futures of current owners Zingarevich and Sir John Madejski, who favour Sagi's bid due to his UK-based business connections and "deep pockets", though it is believed that the two men would remain at the club as minority shareholders.

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