United purchasing vehicle and former administrators from KPMG have come over
all shy about the deal struck to give Bates back control of the football club.
The controversial sale, which was completed last week, has been shrouded in
secrecy and riled the Football League, which insisted that more sale details be
revealed to the body before it would let the club back into the League.
However, there is still the possibility that, in the medium term, details of
the deal will not be released to the public or, much to their chagrin, rival
But the information will come out when KPMG has to pay out dividends to
creditors from the assets of the sale, which could take six months.
Others close to events at the club suggest that the only reason Bates has
kept the value quiet is that the offer would be deemed controversial. ‘Perhaps
others would have paid more,’ said an accountant close to the matter.
Under insolvency law, KPMG did not necessarily have to accept the highest
price, but the deal that represented the best value. ‘Having said that, with so
much interest (in the club) I don’t know why it’s not been disclosed,’ the
One of the sticking points for potential bidders was whether season tickets
had been ‘ringfenced’. A second party close to bitter rival bidders said it had
been difficult to factor receipt of the season tickets into bid offers, as there
had been just a few days to put together a bid. ‘How could anyone else take
comfort that the tickets would be collected?’ said a rival bidder.
Regarding the bid process and HMRC’s initial challenge, KPMG believes it has
acted within the bounds of the law, operating in exceptional circumstances, a
It was ‘fairly unique’, he said, for KPMG to have an agreed CVA proposal
challenged, and administrators from the firm had set a short deadline to receive
bids to resolve the club’s future as soon as possible.
‘We wanted to allow bids, but the risk is that it protracts reaching a
resolution and the way forward for the club,’ the spokesman said.
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