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Nigel Howe gives update on Reading FC takeover – Reading Today Online

Reading FC - Nigel Howe

Former Reading FC CEO Nigel Howe has stated that he is targeting a takeover of the club to be completed in the next couple of months.

Speaking on the Battle & Bunce Talking Property podcast, Howe outlined the current process that he is going through to try and help a takeover reach a conclusion

Howe has been tasked by owner Dai Yongge with helping oversee a takeover of the club.

“We are trying really hard to secure a new owner for this football club,” said Howe.

“Mr Dai has decided he wants to sell and he’s asked me to make the process as easy as possible. In fact, it’s a very difficult process. I’ve been through it before and it’s difficult not only to locate a buyer, but find one that ticks all the boxes.

“The boxes are, have they got enough money? Are they able to allocate that money to buy Reading Football Club and satisfy the Football League rules which is to support the football club for at least 18 months after acquisition?

“And finally, will they pass what the league calls stronger and what is getting strong, fit and proper owners and director’s test. This is the process we’re going through.

“What happens mainly is you get agents calling you first who purport to act for people, you’re never quite sure and they’re usually after a fee.

“Once you get over agreeing some sort of fee you get into the detail of saying who they represent. Sometimes they do represent these people or have a link to them and then someone else gets involved. It’s not a straightforward process.

“You get people telling you they know someone with money who wants to buy the football club. Generally speaking, quite a few of them have never been to Reading, so that’s not a good start and gives you a flavour of how the process has to be managed.

“It’s all done by word of mouth. Some people say, ‘have you got a deck’. Particularly from the far East they will ask for a ‘deck’ which is basically a brochure. But you can’t produce a brochure for a football club.

“If you’re starting from the point of view of selling it like a property asset then you feel you’re going in the wrong direction. You want people to know and feel and understand football and understand the area of Reading and how it works.”

Howe gave an update on the current state of affairs and is targeting an ‘optimistic’ date of March or April to complete the sale.

He continued: “We’ve got one buyer who is particularly ahead of anybody else and then three or four behind them. You can’t do a one horse race in this game because the chances are that at anytime they could fall at any fence for any reason with the amount of hoops they have to go through.

“You worry about the due diligence they’ve done. It’s a tortuous way of doing a deal full of twists and turns.

“It’s been well advertised that one buyer was British because of the way the visit to the stadium was dealt with. There have been other British buyers come forward, but there is also a cover of the world in terms of people who have shown interest from North America, the Far East, Australia, India.

“We set a target to do it for late spring, so late March, April. I’m an optimist so I’d like to deliver something by then. We’re working as hard as we can to deliver a new owner.”

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