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Chinese offer not big enough for Saints

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The Chinese wave in English football has broken on the shores of the Solent, but Southampton FC consider that the offer they have been made is not big enough.   They are also annoyed that news of the bid was broken on the Shenzhen stock exchange that agreement had been reached in principle, breaching the confidentiality of talks.

Lander Sports Development have made an offer of £180m.  Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is understood to value the club at £270m.   It is also unclear how much of the club she is willing to sell.  In an open letter to fans she talked of a ''potential partnership' whereas Lander want to buy the club or secure a controlling interest.

Her father bought the club for £14m in 2009, just after it had been placed in administration.  Industry experts value the club at between £160m and £220m.   The club's sound financial footing and success in player trading is offset by a limited potential for increasing its match-day and commercial revenue.   In her letter to fans, Liebherr emphasised that greater commercial growth was key to its future.

In its most recently published accounts to June 2015, Southampton recorded turnover of £113.7m and profits of £14.9m, down almost £15m from the previous year, almost exclusively because of a reduction in the value of player sales.

Southampton have debts of £62m, £32.7m of which is owed to Liebherr, with the rest split between two separate bank loans.