Kirchner given deadline extension to finalise Rams deal

Chris Kirchner

US businessman Chris Kirchner has been given an extension to complete his deal to buy Derby County – else administrators from Quantuma will reopen the bidding process.

Football writer Alan Nixon is reporting that Kirchner has been given extra time as the preferred bidder to try and solve an impasse over the ownership of the Pride Park stadium. He had been in discussion with former Rams owner Mel Morris’s team for most of last week, but failed to come to an agreement.

It has also been widely reported that Frasers Group boss and former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is waiting in the wings to table a bid should Kirchner fail to strike a deal by the weekend.

In a statement on Monday evening, administrator Quantuma issued the following statement: “The joint administrators are conscious of the heightening anxiety and levels of interest in respect of the ongoing potential acquisition of Derby County Football Club by our preferred bidder, Chris Kirchner.

“There were a substantial number of issues which have been needed to be dealt with since naming Mr Kirchner as preferred bidder in respect of the various stakeholders within the administration and the appropriate levels of submissions to the English Football League.

“Since announcing Mr Kirchner as preferred bidder we have progressed through most of the outstanding issues with the preferred bidder and there are now just a small number of outstanding matters to be agreed with the EFL and in relation to the club’s stadium at Pride Park. We consider that matters can be resolved in a short period of time and are grateful for the assistance of all stakeholders relating to the stadium.

“It should be noted that the company that owns the stadium is not in administration and therefore out of our control. We have therefore extended the period of exclusivity to midnight on Saturday 14 May.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Morris has been fully co-operative throughout the administration and has not changed his stance on the disposal of the stadium. He shares everyone’s desire that the successful acquirer will take the club forward and understands that the acquirer will want the stadium matter resolved as soon as possible.

“It is clear that a successful outcome is dependent on Mr Morris’ assistance in terms of writing off substantial sums owed to him personally, and also in dealing with other issues relating to the stadium to include charge-holder interests, the existing lease and some historic lease arrears which have to be addressed. It is therefore not helpful for Mr Morris to be receiving personal threats against himself of members of his family, which have caused him and his family substantial anguish and could result in a very unnecessary and serious distraction.

“We should be grateful if supporters and other parties could refrain from passing comments of such nature and any such threats reported to the administrators will be taken very seriously. We can confirm that the preferred bidder is supportive of this position.

“Finally, the price for the stadium has been a constant and we are seeking to quickly resolve the ancillary issues relating to the stadium with all parties concerned.”

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