David Sullivan and David Gold look set to take over at West Ham United after the Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes said last night that he had failed in his efforts to buy the Premier League club.

Sullivan and Gold, the former Birmingham City co-owners, are expected to be confirmed as the owners at Upton Park today. The investment group Intermarket was last night attempting to persuade West Ham’s owners that it has a more compelling case to be handed control but the Sullivan-Gold bid appeared to have won after a drawn-out process.

Fernandes said on Twitter that his efforts to buy the club had not succeeded. “Deal lost on west ham,” the chief executive of Air Asia wrote. “Hopefully new owners protect what’s good. We gave awesome deal and new ideas to rejuvenate a club and bring excitment [sic].”

Sullivan and Gold had hoped to have taken charge of West Ham by now. One of their offers to Rothschild, the bank appointed in October to find new owners, proposed buying 100% of the club but they are understood to have succeeded with an arrangement under which they will take a 50% stake but have authority over the running of affairs.

CB Holdings – the company formed by creditors and headed by the Icelandic bank Straumur which runs West Ham – is expected to have a 50% share.

Sullivan and Gold have said that they will service the short-term debt and make money available for signings this month in an effort to ensure that the team, managed by Gianfranco Zola, stay in the Premier League. Zola’s job is not believed to be under immediate threat.

There is likely to be a role in a Sullivan-Gold set-up at West Ham for Karren Brady, who worked as their managing director at Birmingham. She is being tipped to take a job as vice-chairman.