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Wigan administrators say offer withdrawn after ‘adverse publicity’

Wigan Athletic File Photo
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

One of the principal bidders for Wigan has withdrawn an offer while two other proposals have fallen significantly short of the £4million asking price, the club’s administrators said.

Begbies Traynor claimed an unnamed investor was prepared to deposit £4million with their lawyers but backed off after social media speculation about a rival £2m bid from a French-American consortium.

That offer belatedly came but only with the caveat that Wigan’s administrators would be responsible for a £1.3m payment to creditors that would see the club avoid a 15-point deduction. The bid was turned down.

A lengthy statement on the club website said: “On Sunday 13 September, social media was inundated with news that the French-Americans had made a final bid of £2 million. Despite being in constant communication with the French-Americans, no such bid was received that day.

“What it did do however was panic some of the very interested buyers. As a result of all the adverse publicity this generated, we can advise that one of the principal bidders backed out Monday morning and they were due that day to deposit £4 million with their lawyers on the basis of anonymity at this stage.

“They said that the publicity had put them off and their bid was withdrawn. It also led to other parties (who were not in the front running for bids) to make similar offers, one of which was as low as £1.5 million for all of the assets.

“We did in fact receive a bid of £2 million from the French-Americans as predicted on Friday 18 September at 16:25pm. What was not disclosed with this bid on social media however was the strings attached to it – namely that we had to pay the £1.3 million to creditors to avoid the 15-point penalty.

“This was not feasible under English law and we went back within the hour at 17:19pm to inform them that their bid had been rejected and the reasons why. If they want to rethink the bid and remove the clause where we have to pay the £1.3 million then that will be seriously looked at by the joint administrators.”

The administrators also warned about a “considerable liability” to HM Revenue & Customs on player wages and VAT owed on sales.

The statement added: “Taken together with the costs of the appeal, the loss in administration is over £3 million which has to be paid before any dividend can be paid to the unsecured creditors.

“That becomes an impossibility when the actual offer is only £2million. If this bid is remade it will be given very serious consideration.”

Latics, who were relegated to Sky Bet League One last season after a 12-point deduction for being placed in administration, are seeking a buyer to secure their long-term future.

An initial deadline for a sale of August 31 was missed, but the club were given permission by the English Football League to start their league campaign earlier this month.