Coventry City have today tabled a ‘conditional’ bid for joint ownership of the Ricoh Arena company with rugby club Wasps, we can reveal.
The Observer revealed last week the club was in detailed discussions over finalising the conditional bid for the 50 per cent share in Arena Coventry Limited owned by the Alan Edward Higgs Charity, for which Wasps are believed to have offered £2.77m.
We have learned that, after a week of further discussions with lawyers, the bid was today sent to CCFC Ltd liquidator Paul Appleton and he is expected to formally complete the bid in time for Saturday’s deadline.
Joy Seppala, of the club’s hedge fund lenders Sisu/Arvo, told the Observer last week the intention was to make a “conditional” bid – while pressing on with “medium-term” plans for a new stadium in the local area.
She said the bid – under a 2003 agreement which gives the club first option rights on purchasing the shares – was conditional on the Sky Blues receiving important ACL business information from the Higgs charity.
It is not yet known if there will be any legal challenge by the club to the Higgs charity blocking the release of that ACL business information.
The information requested includes details of a £14million council loan to ACL, a reported agreement with Wasps to extend the ACL leasehold to 250 years, and whether Higgs had first option rights over purchasing the council’s share under the latest joint venture agreement in ACL.
The Sky Blues’ future remains uncertain as the owners insist they cannot continue as Ricoh tenants, and must maximise commercial revenue from a stadium to be sustainable.
Coventry City Council says the deal unanimously approved by councillors behind closed doors on October 7 to sell its 50 per cent stake in ACL to Wasps was now completed.
But it has refused to confirm whether it still retained the “veto” right to block any sale of Higgs’ 50 per cent to the club – or if it that right has now been transferred to Wasps, as council sources have claimed was part of the council deal.
The Higgs charity’s clerk, Peter Knatchbull-Hugessen, declined last week to say whether – under the first option agreement – the charity would be obliged to accept an offer via CCFC Ltd if it matched an offer tabled by Wasps