Coventry City agree sale that could leave club debt-free and plan CBS Arena bid

The Coventry owner, Sisu Capital, has agreed to sell a majority stake to local businessman Doug King in a deal which could leave the club debt free.

The Sky Blues were placed under a transfer embargo at the end of October while they repay money owed to HM Revenue & Customs but King taking an 85% share would clear all current debts.

As a result Coventry would also make an equity bid to acquire the CBS Arena, after the owners Wasps Rugby Club went into administration this month and were soon followed by the stadium’s operating companies applying to enter administration.

A successful stadium bid would ensure Coventry remain able to play home games in the city. However, there have also been reports that the former Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, is making a bid to buy the stadium this week and that he is seen as the preferred bidder.

“It is no secret that Coventry City FC has faced challenges in recent years,” said King, the chief executive of the Stratford-upon-Avon-based Yelo Enterprises which recently invested more than £70m in the region through the construction of a state-of-the-art oilseed processing facility to generate renewable energy.

“Working together we want to deliver a new start, beginning with securing our home in Coventry. We know fans, and others across the region, want long-term security and the guarantee of playing football in our city. This is critical to our ambition.

“We have made it a priority – and one of our first acts as majority owners – to submit a bid to acquire the CBS Arena. We are keen to meet with Coventry City Council representatives and others as soon as possible to set out our vision, which includes the regeneration of the area.”

The deal is subject to English Football League approval but Joy Seppala, chief executive at Sisu Capital, is confident it is in the best interests of the club. “This is a fantastic moment for Coventry City FC and the city. I know that Doug has long been an admirer of the Sky Blues and will be a powerful steward of the club moving forward,” she said.

“I am looking forward to a bright new future working with Doug, and all our partners across the city. The sale of the CBS Arena does provide short-term uncertainty and with Doug on board we intend to set out a robust bid for the stadium which, if successful, will provide a platform for long-term success.”