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Chris Kirchner given more time to seal Derby takeover as stadium talks continue
The American businessman is yet to reach agreement over the club’s stadium, which former owner Mel Morris continues to own under a separate company.
Chris Kirchner has been given more time to complete a takeover of Derby as talks with former owner Mel Morris over Pride Park continue.
The American businessman looks poised to finalise a deal to take the League One-bound Rams out of administration, but is yet to reach agreement with Morris over the club’s stadium, which the latter continues to own under a separate company.
Kirchner’s previous period of exclusivity to negotiate with administrators for the club expired on Saturday, and the failure to find a deal with Morris during talks on Sunday led to reports that former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was set to revive his own interest.
But administrators Quantuma have now extended Kirchner’s window to complete the deal, and expressed optimism that it can be concluded quickly.
A statement read: “Since announcing Mr Kirchner as preferred bidder, we have progressed through most of the outstanding issues with the preferred bidder and there are now just a small number of outstanding matters to be agreed with the EFL and in relation to the club’s stadium at Pride Park.
“We consider that matters can be resolved in a short period of time and are grateful for the assistance of all stakeholders relating to the stadium.
“It should be noted that the company that owns the stadium is not in administration and therefore out of our control. We have therefore extended the period of exclusivity to midnight on Saturday 14 May.”
Morris has come in for strong criticism from Derby supporters given the club’s predicament – they have been in administration for eight months, and were docked a total of 21 points this season – enough to see Wayne Rooney’s side relegated from the Championship.
Kirchner used social media to reveal that talks on Sunday with Morris ended in an “impasse”, but called for threats being made against Morris to stop – a plea repeated by administrators on Monday as they said Morris had been “fully co-operative” throughout.
“He (Morris) shares everyone’s desire that the successful acquirer will take the club forward and understands that the acquirer will want the stadium matter resolved as soon as possible,” the statement continued.
“It is clear that a successful outcome is dependent on Mr Morris’ assistance in terms of writing off substantial sums owed to him personally, and also in dealing with other issues relating to the stadium to include charge-holder interests, the existing lease and some historic lease arrears which have to be addressed.
“It is therefore not helpful for Mr Morris to be receiving personal threats against himself or members of his family, which have caused him and his family substantial anguish and could result in a very unnecessary and serious distraction.”