Offers for Wigan Athletic 'not far away' from £4m asking price

A deal to sell Wigan Athletic could be in place as early as next week, says co-administrator Gerald Krasner.
Gerald Krasner at the DW Stadium todayGerald Krasner at the DW Stadium today
Gerald Krasner at the DW Stadium today

Wigan’s administrators are confident of completing a takeover deal with one of four serious bidders - two from the UK and two from USA - in time for the club to start the new season.

And Krasner suggested a contract could be exchanged within days

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“Their offers are not so far away we can’t do a deal,” he said. “They’re doing their due diligence and one says he wants to move to a contract (stage) after the bank holiday. I’ve got what I call the front-runners. I’ve got two different groups of Americans and I’ve got two UK bidders.

"We’re still talking to these people and I’m still somewhat optimistic that ultimately one of these deals will come to fruition.”

The revelation was one of the key points from a press conference at the DW Stadium today, in which the administrators also said:

- It will cost £4m to buy Latics, to cover all remaining debts

- Wigan Athletic will start the new season next month

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- The DW Stadium is not for sale independently of the football club

Krasner said that any prospective owner would need £4million to complete a takeover and that would include the DW Stadium, which has been valued at £3m, and the training ground.

“If we can sell those property assets at £4million, and that is the quoted price to everybody, the club goes for £1.”

But he ruled out the prospect of selling the DW Stadium separately from the club, amid interest from – among others – Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan.

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Krasner didn’t rule out the prospect altogether, admitting his stance may change, but it was clear his intention was to find one buyer to pay £4m to cover remaining costs and creditors.

He said he may entertain offers of £3.5m, and sell the Sharpey’s site separately, but he said he'd "deserve to be shot" by fans if he sold the DW Stadium.

“We’re not selling the stadium as things stand as a one-off item,” he said.

Asked whether Lenagan had approached to buy the stadium, he replied: “Without naming anyone, because of the non-disclosure agreements, I had an approach to buy all the properties but not the club. I also had an approach to buy the properties split between two parties, with one buying the club.

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“That collapsed quickly. There’s been an offer for just the properties, which I will reject. I’ve no plans. None whatsoever.”

His mood throughout the press conference was optimistic, and fans took reassurance from the fact their self-imposed August 31 deadline had been removed and – if the EFL approve it – they will start the new campaign next month.

“When we said at the last press conference, the 31st of August – it wasn’t to scare people but to make people realise time is running out,” he said.

“And it’s still running out. But we’ve been able to put some more sand in the egg cup.”

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Wigan Athletic Supporters Club has already raised £150,000 - potentially as a safety net - and Krasner says the threat of liquidation is still there.

“I must be honest and I’m talking to the fans now,” he said. “If none of the bids, including the supporters, do come to fruition, we do run out of options.

“At that stage we would have to seriously consider whether the club has a future and whether we should just sell the properties and put the club into liquidation.

“This is not a Bury or anywhere near a Bury. At this moment... I have to add that, in case all the bidders disappear.”

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Wigan were placed into administration by owner Au Yeung Wai Kay, who has waived a total of £25million debt owed to him by the club. Krasner confirmed this had removed the threat of a further points penalty next season and made the club a significantly more attractive proposition.

Yeung has faced allegations that he had intended to put the club in administration before he took full control – which was included in the report of the club’s appeal against the points deduction.

But Krasner insisted there had been no evidence to support this.

“Mr Yeung approached Begbies Traynoron June 23, 2020, to seek advice on all of the options available to him regarding the future of the club and that no decisions were taken, nor instructions given, on that date,” he added, saying he didn’t even know the identity of the club which the barrister they met was representing.

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He confirmed the Post’s story that their Euxton training ground had been sold, without revealing details until the move is finalised next week. Preston North End are understood to have paid £1.6m for the site.

All wages – including deferrals – have been paid, and they have enough to cover September’s wages, too.

In terms of the debt, they have enough to cover the £6.5m of football creditors’ debts which need to be paid in full when clearing administration.

They now need £4m from the sale of the club to pay off other bills; about £1.3m for other creditors, and the rest to cover administrators and legal fees as well as other costs.

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He was speaking on the same, South Stand platform where eight weeks earlier he had spoken about Latics’ administration.

Krasner says the lead bidder wanted the club on condition they remained in the Championship – explaining part of the reason they appealed the 12-point deduction.

As for the others who dropped away, he said: “Until you got into detailed discussions with these people, they were only in it to make money off the property.”

But co-administrator Paul Stanley insisted he had no regrets over how they have handled matters.

“I think in hindsight I don’t think there’s anything we’d have done differently,” he said.

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