Wigan's administrators agree sale of club that could secure its future

22 July 2020 04:08
Confidential bid would pay players and ‘football creditors’Club put into administration at start of the monthWigan Athletic’s administrators have announced that they have agreed a sale of the club in principle with a preferred bidder that they hope will secure its future.The administrators, Gerald Krasner and Paul Stanley of insolvency practitioners Begbies Traynor, said the preferred bidders could not be named due to a confidentiality agreement, but that the offer was the highest of five they have received.Krasner said the bid, for the club, DW Stadium and two training grounds, would pay all players and other “football creditors” in full, and a further £1.5m, representing a quarter of the £6m the club owes to “non-football creditors.” That £6m total owed to unsecured, non-football creditors is separate from a £24m-£25m loan thought to be owed to the club’s Hong Kong-based owner Au Yeung, which Krasner said he is hoping not to repay at all. Investigations into the circumstances of the club’s sudden collapse into administration are continuing, he said, and Au Yeung has agreed to be interviewed about it this month, via Zoom from Hong Kong.Au Yeung put Wigan into administration on 1 July, just a week after taking overall control of the club, which he first bought jointly on 4 June for £17.5m with Stanley Choi, the chairman of the previous owners, International Entertainment Corporation. IEC, a Cayman Islands company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange that runs a hotel casino in Manila, owned Wigan for 19 months, having bought the club from the previous owner, Dave Whelan, for £15.9m in November 2018.When the sale to Choi and Au Yeung was completed, IEC announced that £24m they had invested in the club to cover players’ wages and losses, which had been converted into a loan, had been repaid in full. It was assumed that Au Yeung had repaid it by replacing that loan with a £24m loan of his own, which the club would still owe. Krasner said that “on the face of it,” the club owes £24m-£25m “up the line” of company ownership, but that the administrators are still looking into who precisely it is owed to. Explaining the exclusion of that loan from the £6m total he said was owed to unsecured creditors, Krasner said: “We are working on a plan not to have to pay it.” Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian