Port Vale takeover: Paul Wildes ready to finalise £1.25m deal
Alchemy Investment Group, fronted by Wirral businessman Paul Wildes, has been confirmed as the intended new owner of League Two side Port Vale.
Along with his business partner Norman Smurthwaite, a retired finance expert, 35-year-old Wildes is set to complete a £1.25m takeover once it has been ratified by the Football League.
"I've watched Vale a number of times in recent months," said Wildes.
"I'm excited at being involved in a club with so much potential," he added.
"We are aware that there is still a process to be completed in terms of Football League approval, which all parties are working towards.
"Port Vale has a rich history and I am certain that we can play our part in ensuring it also has a successful future."
Sheffield-born Wildes, who also attempted a takeover at Darlington earlier this year, runs a variety of businesses from hotels to hairdressers.
Port Vale's year of turmoil
- March - Vale go into administration and are docked 10 points, ending promotion bid
- April - Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder emerges as expected new owner
- July - Vale boss Micky Adams allowed to make six new signings
- August - A pre-season deal is agreed by the club's administrators to ensure that season can start without any further points deduction
- September - Keith Ryder finally pulls out of proposed deal; administrators reveal three likely new bidders
- October - Vale stand second in League Two, three points off top spot, as Alchemy Investment Group is unveiled as Vale's new owner
A former finance director for the Caudwell Group, which owned brands such as Phones 4 U, Wildes owns some of the franchise for the hotel chain Holiday Inn.
He set up his own company in 2007, Mansion Group, which he sold three years later, before establishing a new holding company, the Wildes Group.
Vale have been in administration since March but, despite Keith Ryder's summer-long takeover bid ending last month, things have gone more smoothly.
They were allowed to re-sign more than half their existing squad on new contracts over the summer, while manager Micky Adams made new six new signings.
Ryder also paid for the squad to go on a pre-season tour of Ireland and paid some of their wages, while a pre-season deal was agreed to ensure they were not thrown out of the Football League or docked any further points.
And, after an excellent start to the season under Adams, they stand second in League Two after Monday night's 3-0 home win over Oxford, have scored more goals than any team in the division and also boast the league's joint top scorer in Tom Pope.
"This has been a long process and a difficult time for everyone connected with Port Vale," said Bob Young, partner at Vale's administrators Begbies-Traynor.
"Alchemy Investment Group has completed extensive due diligence on the club and have also been approved by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
"We are confident that the business has all of the financial requirements in place and can complete at the earliest opportunity."