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Jowell confirms rise in Olympic Park costs

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has told MPs that the cost of building the 2012 Olympic Park has risen by £900m to £3.3bn in a revised budget report.

The 40% rise in the construction costs was widely expected with Jowell placing the blame on the rising cost of steel and revising transport costs to take into account inflation. The revised figures also include a £400m bill to pay delivery partner CLM to make sure the Games come in on budget. 

West Ham agrees £85m takeover

West Ham United has finally reached an agreement with the consortium led by Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnusson regarding a £85m takeover of the FA Premier League club.

Magnusson's consortium has secured agreements to buy 83% of shares and the Hammers' board have recommended the offer to remaining shareholders.

Magnusson will replace Terry Brown as West Ham chairman, although Brown will remain at Upton Park as a director.

Sportfive sold to French media owner

Rights selling agency Sportfive, which holds the TV rights contract for UEFA’s 2008 European Championships amongst a raft of other properties, has been sold to a French media company in a €865m deal.

Lagardère SCA reached an agreement to purchase Sportfive from its present shareholders at the weekend although the sale is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.

Sportfive was put up for sale earlier this year by its owners, RTL Group, private equity group Advent International and Goldman Sachs Group.

Belgravia eyes Newcastle takeover bid

Jersey-based firm The Belgravia Group has confirmed it is in discussions with Newcastle United about a possible takeover bid.

Although no formal proposal has been put forward, spokesman for the group revealed it was keen to reach an agreement to take over the FA Premier League club.

Current club chairman Freddy Shepherd owns 28% of the club, while former chairman Sir John Hall has a 29% share and his son Douglas owns a 12% stake.

Olympic costs will rise to £5bn

The Olympic Delivery Authority has confirmed that the cost of staging the London 2012 Games has increased from £3.4bn to £5bn, confirming industry concerns outlined at the FT Sport Industry Summit earlier this month.

Sir Roy McNulty, head of the ODA, told the London Assembly that the combination of increased security costs, an unexpected VAT bill and demands for a contigency plan have all added to the overall cost of staging the Games.

Finances spell more woe for RFU

The RFU’s annual financial results showed a 4.5% drop off in turnover to £83m – a worrying decline attributed to the England team’s poor performance on the pitch in the last 12 months.

According to the annual report, seven straight losses on the bounce have cost the RFU £3.6m, mainly due to a decline in ticket sales, reduced merchandise sales, a lower share of Six Nations revenues and the costs of restructuring the Elite Rugby Department.

FA Cup leaves non-league side in debt

A row has erupted over the monetary value of playing in the FA Cup after a non-league side was left £10,000 in the red after being forced to switch its first-round game to a larger stadium.

Havant and Waterlooville’s home tie at the club’s West Leigh Park stadium against Millwall was moved to Portsmouth’s Fratton Park ground due to concerns over overcrowding.

Wasserman completes SFX buyout

US sports marketing giant Wasserman Media Group has completed its long-mooted takeover of the European arm of SFX Sports Group, the marketing agency that represents a host of sports stars including footballers Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard.

Wasserman’s acquisition of SFX Sports from Clear Channel gives the new parent agency a significant foothold in the European market across a number of different sports, most noticeably football and rugby.

Through the union, SFX Sports will become part of WMG Management. No price has been disclosed for the transaction.

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