Soccer

Derby owner Mel Morris sets takeover deadline for Derventio Holdings as external interest grows

Derby County owner Mel Morris has delivered a final deadline to prospective buyers Derventio Holdings, warning them he will move on to other interested parties if they do not complete their takeover of the club soon.

Sky Sports News has been told there are at least two other groups who have expressed an interest in buying the Championship club. One of those is based in the US, and the other is fronted by Spanish businessman Erik Alonso.

However, it is thought that Morris has not given up hope on Derventio – led by Sheikh Khaled, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family – completing a deal to buy Derby, after both parties signed a sale agreement in November.

Since then, the takeover has stalled, with several expected completion dates missed.

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Derventio have now been given a short extension to come up with the purchase funds, Sky Sports News has been told, but it has been made clear to them there will be no further extensions after this point.

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Meanwhile, the rival bid from Alonso is waiting in the wings.

That offer is still subject to EFL approval, and Alonso and his group must pass an owners and directors test – and meet the other EFL regulatory requirements regarding a change of ownership – for any deal to proceed.

The Spanish businessman had an offer to buy Sheffield Wednesday rejected earlier this year, after working as an advisor to their owner Dejphon Chansiri. He is nevertheless determined to buy a Championship football club, and sees Derby as a perfect target.

Morris is unable to pursue any other bids, until such time when the contract with Derventio is deemed legally void.

The EFL sanctioned the takeover by Sheikh Khaled four months ago, and has been waiting – like Morris – for the protracted deal to be completed.

The EFL declined to comment when contacted by Sky Sports News on Wednesday evening.

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