Derbyshire-based property group Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd has completed its takeover of Derby County.
Having purchased the club’s Pride Park Stadium from a company owned by former chairman Mel Morris, the company was due to complete the transaction on Wednesday, however that was pushed back.
The deal was eventually completed on Friday, with the news coming 18 days after American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrew his bid to buy the club after he missed a deadline to provide proof of funds to complete the deal.
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It brings to an end a long period of uncertainty that stretches back 20 months to October 2020 when Morris revealed his intention to sell the club after five years as sole owner and chairman.
Derby’s takeover nightmare: A timeline
- October 2020 – Mel Morris announces intention to sell Derby County.
- March 2021 – Takeover led by Derventio Holdings – backed by Sheikh Khaled’s company Bin Zayed International – falls through.
- May 2021 – Spanish businessman Erik Alonso fails in bid to buy the club.
- July 2021 – The EFL puts Derby under a transfer embargo, after breaches of financial fair play regulations, with just nine players on the books.
- August 2021 – Wayne Rooney’s Rams climb to 12th after starting 2021/22 season with two wins, four draws and two defeats.
- September 2021 – Derby board confirms club to go into administration; EFL hands out 12-point deduction, which sends club bottom of Championship.
- November 2021 – EFL hands Derby further nine-point deduction for breaching accounting rules.
- January 2021 – Four first team players and three young prospects leave the club.
- April 6 2022 – American businessman Chris Kirchner named preferred bidder by administrators Quantuma.
- April 18 – Derby suffer relegation to Sky Bet League One.
- May 17 – Quantuma exchange contracts with Kirchner.
- June 10 – Kirchner misses deadline to provide proof of funds to complete purchase.
- June 13 – Kirchner withdraws bid to buy Derby.
- June 24 – Rooney leaves role as manager, with Liam Rosenior appointed on an interim basis.
- June 26 – Property developer David Clowes buys Pride Park, has bid accepted, named preferred bidder.
- June 30 – Clowes Development completes takeover of Derby County.
Quantuma joint administrator Carl Jackson said: “We are very pleased to have achieved today’s sale, in a deal which secures the long-term future of the club, and one which represents the very best outcome for creditors. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the club’s staff players and the fans for their loyalty, and patience, as they supported the club through the administration.”
Lifelong Derby fan David Clowes, who heads up Clowes Development, said in a statement: “It is with an immense sense of pride that I write to you having finalised our agreement to buy Derby County and end nine months of uncertainty and fear over the future of our club.
“As a lifelong supporter, I could not stand by as the risk of losing Derby County became all too real.”
Joint administrator Andrew Hosking added: “The level of complexity involved in bringing this matter to a conclusion has been unparalleled and we are grateful to all stakeholders and their advisers, for their hard work which has enabled us to overcome a magnitude of challenges, and allow the rescue of this historic club.
“This deal represents a real milestone in the long and illustrious history of Derby County, and one which marks the end of the uncertainty experienced by supporters and the wider community whilst the club has been in administration and also importantly is one which complies with the EFL Insolvency Policy and provides the best return for creditors. Today signifies a new beginning for the club, and it enables the club to move forward into the new season with a clean slate, under local ownership under the stewardship of Clowes.”
EFL statement on Derby County takeover
“The EFL welcomes confirmation from the Joint Administrators of Derby County FC, Quantuma, that they have today formally concluded the transfer of assets with Clowes Developments (UK) Limited to place Derby County under new ownership.
“Consequently, the EFL can now confirm that the Club has met the requirements of the League’s Regulations and Insolvency Policy and is therefore no longer in administration with the Notice of Withdrawal also being cancelled.
“As part of the conditions of continuing membership in the EFL, the Club, whilst remaining under a registration embargo, will be permitted to sign new players in accordance with the terms of a business plan.
“The plan, which has been jointly agreed by the new ownership and the EFL, includes restrictions in respect of transfers fees, player wages and agents’ fees. Any application to register players must comply with the terms of those agreed plans.”
EFL CEO Trevor Birch added: “These past nine months have been a worrying and challenging time for everybody connected with the Club, particularly the staff and supporters who have been forced to endure much uncertainty.
“This Administration has presented all relevant parties with many and varied challenges, but with the new ownership now in place, the Club and local community can hopefully now look to the future with a renewed sense of optimism.
“Throughout this process, it has been frustrating to read a great deal of misleading comments from some people which have either fundamentally misunderstood the remit of the EFL or have misrepresented what the League’s role in the process has been.
“At all times the EFL’s focus has been on securing the future of Derby County whilst ensuring the requirements of our Regulations and Insolvency Policy are met alongside acting in the best interests of all 72 members of the League.
“I would like to wish everybody at the Club, in particular the new ownership and their associates, all the very best for a long and sustainable future and we look forward to working closely together as we head into season 2022/23 and beyond.”