U.S-based GSE buy Derby County

LONDON Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:41pm GMT

Liverpool's Fernando Torres (R) beats Derby County's Dean Leacock (2nd R) to score during their Premier League match at Pride Park in Derby, December 26, 2007. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Liverpool's Fernando Torres (R) beats Derby County's Dean Leacock (2nd R) to score during their Premier League match at Pride Park in Derby, December 26, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON (Reuters) - English Premier League strugglers Derby County named U.S.-based General Sports and Entertainment (GSE) as their new owners on Monday.

The takeover by the sports and entertainment marketing and management firm is worth around $100-120 million (50-60 million pounds), Derby chairman Adam Pearson told a news conference.

"You guys have been bandying figures of circa $120 million/$100 million, which you wouldn't be far away on but the specific breakdown of that financial information we're just not prepared to go into," Pearson said. "It's a big figure in this financial climate."

The club said earlier that the investment was in the form of cash, and not debt, and that the financial future of the club was underpinned.

Derby lie bottom of the Premier League, with just one win from 23 games. On Saturday they were knocked out of the FA Cup after a 4-1 thrashing by Championship (second division) side Preston North End.

Manager Paul Jewell, who said one of the main reasons he joined the club in November was the impending takeover, has yet to be told how much money he will have to spend on players.

"Certainly Paul's transfer pot is one that we'll be keeping closely guarded, seeing as Paul doesn't know it yet and I think it would only be fair to discuss it with him first," said Pearson.

With the club heading ever closer to relegation, the new owners' focus is on paving the way for long-term success rather than providing a quick fix.

"Paul (Jewell)...loves to talk about building foundations and how it's really important to build a strong foundation before becoming great. If we can do that there is no reason why this club cannot be a perennial Premier League club," GSE chairman Andy Appleby said.

MAJOR FORCE

GSE was founded in 1998 by Appleby, 45, who will be on the board alongside Pearson who stays on as chairman of football operations.

Tom Glick, a former chief marketing officer for NBA team the New Jersey Nets, will be president and chief executive.

"I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am to have completed the deal...and how much I am looking forward to being part of an adventure and journey that will ultimately turn this great football club into a major force in the Premier League and a global brand recognised around the world," Appleby wrote in an open letter to fans.

Derby are the fourth Premier League club to be taken over by Americans, following Liverpool, Manchester United and Aston Villa.

"The turnaround in the fortunes of Aston Villa, with their American investment in the squad and club infrastructure, is a key model we would like to emulate over the coming seasons," Pearson told the club's Web site (www.dcfc.premiumtv.co.uk).

(Reporting by Sonia Oxley, editing by John Mehaffey)

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