Red Bull’s desire to expand into the English Premier League appears to have taken them to London after it emerged that the energy drinks giant is looking at a takeover bid for West Ham United, according to reports.
Red Bull already own clubs in Germany, Austria and the United States, and recently sold off a team in Ghana along with trying to offload their Sao Paulo side in Brazil. The company also owns two Formula One teams in Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, and has been repeatedly linked with a move into the Premier League.
That possibility looks to have taken a step closer after The Sun reported on Boxing Day that West Ham could find themselves the subject of a takeover bid from Red Bull in the coming weeks.
Co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan have recently that they have no intention of selling the club, having come under speculation that a Chinese takeover bid was in the pipeline. Any bid would be in the region of £200m, and Sullivan did admit that while they do not want to sell the club, they “might sell a shareholding to clear our debts”.
The Hammers’s summer relocation to the London Stadium from Upton Park is said to be the biggest lure for Red Bull, who believe they can rebrand the club like they have with their previous sides. Red Bull bought SV Salzburg in 2005 in their homeland and immediately changed their name to Red Bull Salzburg, and two years later they purchased German fifth-tier side SSV Markranstadt, before transforming them into RB Leipzig and securing four promotions to now sit second in the Bundesliga table.
The German side’s rise has not gone down well among the rest of the Bundesliga though, with opposition fans boycotting matches and staying away from games against Leipzig.
Any move to purchase West Ham from Gold and Sullivan may not be well received by the east Londoners, who were already unconvinced with the club’s move away from Upton Park. The first six months at the Olympic Stadium has seen fan unrest and crowd trouble blight matches, although West Ham’s teething troubles look to be behind them after Slaven Bilic’s side improved their form to pull away from the relegation zone.