Derby County have taken a major step forward in their search for a new owner after the trustees named Chris Kirchner as their preferred bidder and ‘accepted his offer’ to buy the club.
However, talkSPORT understands that former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is still interested in the Championship side despite the latest developments on Wednesday morning.
The news means American software entrepreneur and multi-millionaire Kirchner will enter a period of exclusivity with the administration as he continues discussions on a deal.
The Rams have been in administration since September, with Quantuma, the club’s administrators, working hard to find a suitable bidder for the Championship club which is struggling with the prospect of going bankrupt.
Luckily for supporters, an official statement from the EFL provided some good news.
Wednesday’s statement read: “Following a rigorous and well-researched marketing process, the joint administrators of Derby County Football Club (“the Club”) have accepted an offer from Chris Kirchner to acquire Derby County Football Club off administration.
“This follows the receipt of its recent offer for the club. The offer is for the purchase of the football club only, with the terms of the club’s ongoing occupation of Pride Park stadium to be negotiated with parties external stakeholders.
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“Discussions have taken place with key stakeholders and Mr Kirchner has been named the club’s preferred bidder, effective immediately.
“The co-directors have entered into a period of exclusivity with Mr. Kirchner and his advisers, during which further operational, commercial and contractual discussions will take place.”
Giving his first reaction to the news, talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan expressed his belief that the club would succeed in their hopes of leaving administration, in a positive and reassuring message for supporters.
But whether that’s with Kirchner or another interested party, with Ashley still enthusiastic, remains to be seen as the deal is not yet done.
When asked if he had seen Wednesday’s statement coming, the White and Jordan host replied: “Yes, because finally we announced yesterday that he would be the preferred bidder and he was brought to my attention before the embargo that this would be the case.
“It confirms the philosophy that I have been saying from the beginning – this football club will leave the administration.
“It will come out of administration and come out the other side.
“Although people were nervous, it’s the process and you have to go through the process.”
talkSPORT understands that even though Kirchner has been named preferred bidder, Ashley – who has expressed a strong interest in the club – still maintains that strong interest.
The former Newcastle owner is said to be keen on buying another club after selling the Magpies for £305m after 14 years in charge.
Responding to the news, Simon Jordan said, “Good!
“This is good news for Derby.”
Jordan also went into detail to explain the ‘preferred bidder’ process and admitted it meant Derby wasn’t completely off the hook just yet.
Asked about the American businessman’s conduct in his interest to buy the club, this is the second time he has submitted a bid after withdrawing his previous offer, the former owner of Crystal Palace said: ” There’s nothing wrong with the way Chris Kirchner operated.
“If you want to buy a football club, you don’t want to pay what other people want you to pay, do you? You want to pay what you’re willing to pay, especially if it’s a struggling football club.
“Everyone wants you to spend what everyone wants you to spend, pay off the debts that have already accrued. “Non admin, I want you to do your job and put it in the best shape possible for me because I’m the game in town, I’m the savior and I’m the one with the check.”
“He dived, didn’t like what he heard, then dived again, but now he’s back at the table.
“If you’re buying a house and you’re at the stage where you’ve traded in, but you haven’t finished, you’re now at the stage where it’s under contract, subject to investigations and you’re at a stage where no one else can do it because you have been chosen as the preferred bidder.
“Nobody else can access the books, nobody can see what’s going on or do anything but wait and see if Chris Kirchner will move on the trade side of the deal to completion.”
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