Bolton Wanderers sale completed to save club from League expulsion and liquidation

Bolton Wanderers
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Administrators of Bolton Wanderers this evening announced the successful sale of the club to preferred bidder Football Ventures.

Business advisory firm Quantuma has also completed the sale of the Bolton Whites Hotel to FVWL Hotel Limited, a subsidiary of Football Ventures, in a transaction that secures the future of at least 100 jobs.

The deal means the League One side has been saved from expulsion by the English Football League (EFL), which would have taken place in just under a fortnight had all parties failed to get the transaction over the line.

A statement on behalf Of David Rubin & Partners, administrators for Bolton Wanderers, said this evening: “We are pleased to announce the sale of Bolton Wanderers to Football Ventures (Whites) Limited has been completed.”

Joint administrator, Paul Appleton, said: “This has been one of the most complicated administrations I’ve been involved with but I’m delighted to say we have finally reached a satisfactory conclusion with the sale to Football Ventures.

“At times, some of the hurdles appeared insurmountable and the frustration felt has been immense, not least by the supporters who have had to endure too many weeks of uncertainty.

“I would like to pay particular tribute to the Eddie Davies Trust and their legal team who, throughout this whole process, have been willing to do everything in their power to ensure Eddie’s incredible legacy was maintained and not sullied.

“Even at the 11th hour when other parties were content to renege on their agreements, the Trust realised the very existence of Bolton Wanderers was at stake and were willing to find a compromise to save the club.

“It is a testament to their unflinching determination to do what was best for Bolton that we are able to complete the deal today.”

He singled out former owner Ken Anderson for criticism, saying: “The Trust were forced to constantly compromise their position in the face of circumstances and demands which were wholly unreasonable. This says much about their determination not to allow Eddie’s beloved Bolton Wanderers to suffer any longer at the hands of Ken Anderson.

Ken Anderson

“Sadly, Mr Anderson has used his position as a secured creditor to hamper and frustrate any deal that did not benefit him or suit his purposes. Thankfully, with the assistance of the Trust and others, we were able to overcome this obstacle.”

Last night it appeared a deal was beyond the administrators, who worked until 3am this morning with the EFL to get talks back on track.

They announced this morning that plans to close the club and begin the liquidation process, which would have led to the loss of more than 150 jobs, had been put on hold while talks went on.

Mr Appleton added: “I would especially like to thank both my team and my lawyers who worked around the clock to find solutions to problems which certainly threatened to derail the whole process.”

“I have every sympathy for the staff, players and fans who have been forced to stand by while their club was taken to the brink. I am delighted their loyalty, dedication and patience have finally been rewarded.

“Of course, there will be difficult times ahead while the club gets back on its feet, but there are too many people with Bolton close to their hearts for it not to be successful once more.

“The EFL and PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) have both played a major part in the club’s survival. They have understood the complexities of the process and have stood strong in the fight to save Bolton, helping to drive this deal over the line.

“Now there can be a fresh start with owners who, I believe, will run the club for the good of the supporters and the community as a whole.

“For everything the fans have had to endure, they deserve nothing less.”

Football Ventures said in a statement this evening: “We are privileged to announce that negotiations to transfer the ownership of Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Whites Hotel are over and we have formally completed.

“Throughout this lengthy and complicated process we have remained focused on completion of the deal and nothing else.

“At times it has been difficult to keep our counsel but we took a decision to remain on the sidelines even when further damage was being inflicted by delays outside of our control.

“Our thoughts were always with the club staff and supporters and we worked tirelessly behind the scenes to find an agreement and prevent even more stress and uncertainty for those who have suffered far too much over the past months.

“Now we are excited to begin restoring this magnificent football club to its rightful position, securing its future for the fans, the loyal club staff, and the players.”

The statement added: “We are thankful to the EFL for their willingness to support our efforts along with the PFA. We would also like to thank the University of Bolton and Bolton Council for their backing and Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust for its understanding.”

They said they understand the decision by former manager Phil Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin to leave the club: “They have behaved impeccably and loyally and we wish them both nothing but the best for whatever the future may hold.

“It is now imperative that we commence the process of appointing a manager and strengthening the team with the right players to take the club forward.

“The true spirit of this football club rests with the fans, it is nothing without them. The support shown to the players during this season’s opening fixtures has been overwhelming.”

The statement concluded: “It would be remiss of us not to say how saddened we are at the devastating news from our neighbours at Bury FC. Our hearts go out to the fans and the community.

“Now the deal is complete, please be assured we intend to do all within our power to bring back a true sense of pride to Bolton Wanderers Football Club, which is the least the staff, fans, future generations of supporters and the community deserve.

A big part of the sale process involved a deal to include the Bolton Whites Hotel.

Having closed due to financial difficulties on May 1, 2019, Andrew Hosking, Sean Bucknell and Michael Kiely, partners of business advisory firm Quantuma, were appointed joint administrators to the hotel on May 14. The hotel was re-opened immediately following the appointment, and has continued to trade under Quantuma’s management.

Andrew Hosking said: “The joint administrators of Bolton Whites Hotel Limited are pleased to announce the sale of the business and assets of the company to FVWL Hotel Limited, which will safeguard at least 100 jobs.

“The joint administrators would like to thank all staff for their commitment and ongoing hard work during what has been an extremely stressful time, and wish the new owners every success for the future.”

The joint administrators were assisted in the complex negotiations by their legal advisors Phil Farrelly and Dave Gledhill of Bermans.

Debbie Jevans EFL executive chair, said: “On behalf of the EFL board, I am pleased that the administrators appointed in respect of Bolton Wanderers Football Club have today concluded the transfer of assets with Football Ventures to place the club under new ownership and out of administration.

“Having worked closely with the administrators since their appointment in May, the EFL has been focused on working through this difficult and complex period of uncertainty with all parties.

“Following the completion of the sale, the club is no longer in administration and the notice of withdrawal issued as per the EFL’s insolvency policy has been cancelled.

“These past few months have undoubtedly been challenging and, at times fraught – never more so in the past few days – and I would like to thank all parties for their efforts in achieving the desired outcome.

“I would also like to place on record my grateful appreciation and thanks to the players, former and present management, staff and supporters for their patience and understanding in allowing us to get to this point.

“Everyone at the EFL is now looking forward to working with the new ownership during the 2019/20 campaign and beyond.”

Football Ventures were named preferred bidder by the club’s joint administrators on July 1.

Sharon Brittan and Parminder Basran were behind the company that was set up in January with the purpose of buying the club.

Ms Brittan has a background in property and asset management.

During a career spanning more than 25 years she has completed multiple real estate development projects and now advises on investment and asset management.

Her achievements included co-founder and chief executive of Britannia Row Business Centre, an award-winning property offering flexible workspace solutions; chief executive of One Alfred Place, a private members business club in the West End of London which offers stylish, flexible work and meeting facilities where entrepreneurs and professionals combine to form a unique community; and chief executive and investment director for a family office managing a portfolio of property, lifestyle and technology investments.

Mr Basran made his money in food manufacture, hotels and restaurants, and is the founder and managing partner of Cheshire-based VGC Partners and in February this year was appointed as a director of WIT Fitness Limited.

He resigned from Football Ventures in July.

Robert Turner, partner at law firm Brabners, advised Football Ventures on its takeover. He said: “Bolton Wanderers Football Club is the heart of the community and throughout this process we’ve seen first-hand just what the club means to the people of the town and fans further afield. It’s been an absolute privilege to play a part in ensuring the club’s future.

“Despite innumerable issues, the absolute commitment shown by Football Ventures to complete on this transaction – together with the combined commercial experience of the FV team – means that it is in the best possible position to take the club forward.”