Speaking to OVF editor Rob Fielding, Norman Smurthwaite has confirmed that there are four parties interested in the club and that two have met the asking price.
The club owner confirmed that he would be tempted to stay on but he was “tired” of criticism and that he could now accept either of the bids.
The Chairman has confirmed that both bidders have produced a comprehensive business plan, have “undertaken due diligence” and have working capital to invest into the club…
However, the Chairman has confirmed that while both bidders have produced a comprehensive business plan, have “undertaken due diligence” and have working capital to invest into the club, both bids are from hedge funds. With the controversy surrounding SISU’s ownership of Coventry City, the owner admitted he was “concerned” about the possibility of selling to owners who are both hedge funds.
He told OVF editor Rob Fielding that he did feel a “duty of care” to sell to the right party and not to put the club in jeopardy. However, he also felt that with the recent criticism, that perhaps it was “the right time to move aside.”
Rob Fielding made the point that from a fan’s perspective all he wanted was an owner who had the club’s best interests at heart. Fielding admitted that it was often difficult to judge that because many investors say the “right thing” at the time of the bid but fail to follow through with their promises. Smurthwaite admitted that this was a concern and that he would be “interested to hear what the fans’ reaction to the news would be.” With that in mind, he was happy for OVF to produce this story.
Furthermore, Smurthwaite also asked OVF to produce a dedicated forum thread where fans can express their views on this issue and we are happy to do so. OVF has produced a thread containing a vote with three options and the opportunity for fans to express their opinion on the news. Norman Smurthwaite will be reading the comments and taking on board any concerns, questions and suggestions.
Clarification: The original feature and forum post caused some confusion. OVF can confirm that both bids are from hedge funds. Here is additional information which has been approved for publication on here by Norman Smurthwaite: There are two bids which are acceptable financially. Neither is a locally-based firm. One originally enquired in Jan 2016 and undertook due diligence then. They have now asked for exclusivity. The second one enquired in August 2016 and having completed their due diligence have also asked for exclusivity. Both are hedge funds.
Click here for the dedicated forum thread