Birmingham team advise on acquisition of Derby County FC

Chris Kirchner

Birmingham’s Squire Patton Boggs is advising Chris Kirchner, CEO of US software company, on the acquisition of Derby County Football Club out of administration.

The joint administrators have exchanged contracts for the sale of the business and assets of the club with Kirchner, who is the preferred bidder.

Completion is targeted for on or before May 31 and is conditional on the sale of the stadium, EFL approval and receiving secured creditor consent.

In the interim period between exchange and completion, funding for the club is being provided by Kirchner.

The Squire Patton Boggs team was led by corporate partner David Hull, supported by the head of the firm’s sports and entertainment industry group Stephen Sampson, restructuring and insolvency partner Devinder Singh and real estate senior associate Andrew Chapman, and restructuring and insolvency associate Emily Davis.

A founder member of the Football League in 1888, Derby County has a long history but has recently suffered financial difficulties and went into administration last September.  This led to the club being docked a total of 21 points by the English Football League and led to its relegation from the Championship to League One for the forthcoming season.

Hull said: “We are delighted to have supported Chris Kirchner in a deal that will hopefully secure the future of Derby County Football Club.  This is the most complex, high-stakes football transaction that we have advised on, with the separation of the ownership of Pride Park from the club one of a number of issues to navigate in structuring the deal.  The desire and co-operation of all stakeholders who are working hard to get this deal over the line will enable the club to move on and look ahead to next season and its long-term future.”

Squire Patton Boggs has advised on more than 26 football club deals in the last 20 years. The firm has advised on the sell side of the take-overs of Manchester City, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester City and the buy side of the take-overs of Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Fulham and Wigan Athletic, as well as handling day-to-day instructions arising from football clubs and their owners.

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