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Real Madrid Maneuvers to Block Hostile Takeover Approaches

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez plans to change the member-owned team’s statutes to prevent a hostile takeover after buyouts in the English Premier League and other championships.

Perez told the club’s annual general meeting yesterday he was concerned a wealthy investor could try and ally with some members to buy the nine-time European champion, whose squad includes Cristiano Ronaldo, the most-expensive soccer player.

Foreign investors such as the U.S.’s Glazer family, who bought Manchester United for 790 million pounds ($1.2 billion) in 2005, have acquired clubs in the English Premier League over the last decade. The Qatar Investment Authority agreed to take control of Paris Saint-Germain in May.

“A rich man could come along like in England or France and with the support of some members take over the club,” Perez said. “That’s a concern, of course, and we intend to change the statutes to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Real remains the biggest team by sales in any sport after revenue climbed 8.6 percent to 480 million euros ($646 million) in the year to June 30, according to Perez. Real has led Deloitte LLP’s list of biggest soccer teams by sales since overtaking Manchester United in 2005.

The club’s revenue has increased an average 14 percent every year since 2000, Perez said. Like archrival Barcelona, Real Madrid is owned by its members who vote in its president and board of directors every four years. Real has about 90,000 members.

Members yesterday approved a plan to remodel Real’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium by developing the façade on the Paseo de la Castellana -- Madrid’s main thoroughfare -- for retail use, and changing the exterior’s design.

The planning of the work will take a year and the cost wasn’t disclosed. An artist’s impression of the redesign shows the entire exterior lit up with neon lights.

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