Derby County: US-based Binnie family submit takeover offer for Championship club

Derby County
Derby County will play East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday

A wealthy US family, based in New England, have made a formal offer to buy Championship club Derby County.

The Binnies, founders of investment company Carlisle Capital, have submitted a bid of about £28m.

The club's administrators had hoped to name a preferred bidder earlier this month, with three parties interested.

But they have to meet the English Football League's statutory requirement for proof of how Derby will be funded for the rest of the season.

Administrators Quantuma are also having to deal with compensation claims against Derby from fellow EFL clubs Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers.

BBC Radio Derby reports that the bid does not cover the Rams' Pride Park stadium, which is owned by former club chairman Mel Morris.

Derby were placed into administration last September by Morris and the club were hit with deductions totalling 21 points, leaving them facing relegation to League One.

Despite that, impressive form under manager Wayne Rooney has seen the team climb off the bottom of the table and they are within eight points of safety.

Speaking on Friday, before reports of the Binnies' interest, Rooney told BBC Sport: "Derby County is much more than just a football club. It gives everyone in the city hope, it gives kids a dream of playing for their club. It helps numerous charities around the city.

"Let's hope we get the help we need or this will be a massive loss to Derby."

Those interested in buying the club include a consortium including ex-Derby chairman Andy Appleby and former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

US businessman Chris Kirchner, from Texas, submitted an offer for the club but withdrew it just before Christmas.

Carlisle Capital was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, and has been an investor in more than 15 countries around the world, the company website says.

Vice-president Adam Binnie is understood to be leading the move for Derby, and has been informed about additional liabilities that the club could face, which rests largely on the outcome of the action by Middlesbrough and Wycombe.

Both clubs claim to have lost out because of Derby's financial rule breaches - Middlesbrough finished below the Rams in the race for the play-offs in 2019, while Wycombe were relegated to the third tier last season, which may not have happened had a points deduction been imposed in 2020-21.

EFL 'committed' to finding solution

EFL chairman Rick Parry told BBC Radio 5 Live the EFL are committed to keeping Derby County "alive" while dealing with the claims put forward by Middlesbrough and Wycombe.

"We are committed, we believe a solution can be found," he said. "We're not underestimating that because it's complex, it's challenging. There are a variety of different issues that have to be addressed.

"We don't think the objective of Middlesbrough and Wycombe is to see Derby liquidated. We think their objective is to have a fair hearing for their complaints and a fair basis to find a resolution.

"If we're going to knock heads together, we need to be able to identify the heads and at the moment there is a head missing - we need a preferred bidder. Once we have a preferred bidder we can get around the table."

Football finance expert Kieran Maguire told BBC Radio Derby that the £28m offer from the Binnies was a "good first step" but not enough to pay off the club's football creditors, irrespective of the Middlesbrough and Wycombe situation - although it might "flush out some higher offers" from the other interested parties.

"We could now move into some form of an auction whereby the administrators will be utilising this first bid as a means of extracting additional value from the other bidders," he said.

There was nothing to stop any of the bidders coming to a private agreement with Middlesbrough and Wycombe, Maguire continued, as neither of them would want "to be racking up huge legal bills".

He added: "You're effectively paying £28m for the name of Derby County and its place in English football. The fact that an investment company is prepared to pay for that is indicative that it is a brand that is held in high regard and I think we can certainly look forward with greater confidence."

Analysis

BBC Sport reporter Simon Stone

This news has to be seen as a positive for Derby, given that only yesterday the administrators said none of the three interested parties would move forward without the Middlesbrough and Wycombe situations being resolved.

However, question marks remain over the bid. If it doesn't include the stadium, which Mel Morris owns, how do the Binnie family intend to bring the whole club back under one umbrella?

Will this deal with the MSD Holdings loan, which is secured against the stadium? And will it make Middlesbrough and Wycombe even more determined not to abandon their compensation quest?

It will also be interesting to see the reaction of competing bids, led by former chairman Andy Appleby and ex-Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

For the first time in many days, though, Derby fans have a reason for optimism.

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