October 9 – Ken Anderson, owner of English Championship Bolton Wanderers will sell his 94.45% stake in Burnden Leisure, the club’s holding company, for £25 million.
With Premier League clubs costing north of £200 million, investor focus has been on cheaper opportunities in the next division down. Leeds United were recently sold for £40 million while Barnsley are also on the verge of concluding a £20 million sale. Chinese investors have control of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Aston Villa and Reading. All are chasing the big money rewards of the Premier League.
Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League in 2012 and have struggled since then both financially and on the pitch, having been relegated to Division One before returning the Championship this season.
Financially the club has struggled having just avoided winding up orders over unpaid taxes in 2015 and 2016, and suffering under £200 million of debt owed to previous owner Eddie Davies. Davies wrote off £125 million of that debt.
The 94.5% stake is held by Sports Shield Consortium with Anderson the principal within that group. The £25 million sale price he is asking for includes the club, the Macron stadium, the Whites Hotel (built into the stadium) and the club’s 40-acre training ground.
A statement by Anderson on the club website says: “Over the last 12 months, we have received many enquiries from China, America, Canada, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the UK. This does not surprise me and is vindication of my previous comments. The club has a fantastic infrastructure and has a well-regarded history.
“The stadium, in its 20th year, is iconic and contains an award-winning hotel which has a thriving conference and events business as well as a high room occupancy.
“The stadium and our ancillary businesses are a truly 365-day operation which ultimately helps to drive revenue for the football club.
“As I have always said, if any individual or group is able to invest significant resources and has the club’s best interests at heart, then I will be willing to hold discussions with them…
“Since I have been involved with the club, my aim was to get the club promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship and that was achieved at our first attempt during the very difficult circumstances of having to operate under a transfer embargo and the financial legacy we inherited.
“My job now is to try to ensure that we retain Championship status this season and continue to work towards achieving a sustainable financial model, and I am confident that with the continued support of our fantastic staff and supporters both of these tasks will be achieved.”
Bolton Wanderers are currently bottom of the Championship.
Related background, see: Matt Scott: Bolton have lost their power. It won’t be long before the lights go out
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