Football: Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan exploring IPO on KL Stock Exchange

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan is exploring an initial public offering (IPO) of his football team Cardiff City for as early as this year, in a deal that would follow the team's recent promotion to the English Premier League.

A listing for the Welsh team would follow Manchester United's debut on the New York Stock Exchange last year, which raised US$233.2 million (S$295 million) in the largest sports team IPO ever.

The process is still in its early stages, with details on the timing, size and listing venue subject to change.

Tan, who owns 36.1 per cent of the club and is the former chairman of the Berjaya Group, has engaged at least one investment bank to lead the process. He is Malaysia's 10th richest person with a net worth of US$1.3 billion, according to Forbes.

The initial plan is to list the club on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, and the deal may be completed as early as this year.

Cardiff City were promoted to the EPL last month after a 51-year absence.

They were on the brink of administration and escaped a winding-up petition at the High Court in 2010 after settling a £1.9 million (S$3.6 million) tax bill.

Tan has sought to increase the club's marketability, especially in Asia, although his decision to change their traditional blue kit to red sparked controversy.