Spanish investor agrees to buy Wigan Athletic out of administration

Spanish investor agrees to buy Wigan Athletic out of administration

A Spanish investor has agreed to buy Wigan Athletic out of administration and paid “a substantial deposit”, the League One club’s administrators have announced.

Gerald Krasner and Paul Stanley of the accountancy firm Begbies Traynor said the bidder had experience in football, but otherwise released no details , saying they had agreed to keep the investor’s identity confidential until the hoped-for purchase is complete.

The bidder has committed to buying the club and paying the minimum 25p for every pound owed to “non-football creditors”, the administrators said, which would mean the club can emerge from administration in League One this season without a points deduction for leaving creditors short.

When announcing a previous offer that ultimately did not complete, Krasner said in July that the club owed non-football creditors approximately £6m. Football creditors – principally wages owed under players’ contracts, and any outstanding sums to other clubs – must be paid in full, according to EFL rules. The administrators said in August that they were looking for £4m to sell the club and its DW Stadium, and that a further £5m was needed to cover costs for this season and next.

If the sale does complete and Wigan’s future is secured after a traumatic period since the club was plunged into a shock administration on 1 July, it would prompt some much-needed optimism in the EFL, whose clubs are grappling with the financial crisis caused by Covid-19.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached agreement with a preferred bidder from Spain,” the administrators said in a statement. “The offer that has been accepted deals with not only the sale of the club but also allows the payment to non-football creditors to avoid the 15-point penalty this season. In addition, a substantial deposit has been received. We are now working with our lawyers and the bidder to produce all of the necessary paperwork to submit to the EFL so that successful transfer of the football share can be made at the earliest opportunity.”

The club’s owner, Hong Kong-based Au Yeung, put Wigan into administration days after he completed his takeover on 24 June, which he subsequently said had cost him £40m. In August Au Yeung agreed to waive any repayment of £36m in loans. The administrators announced a week later that they had conducted an investigation and “seen nothing to substantiate any allegations [of wrongdoing] against Mr Yeung”.