American McEvoy ponders Coventry and CBS Arena bid


Both Coventry City and Wasps play their home games at the CBS Arena

American billionaire John McEvoy is considering a bid to buy Championship club Coventry City and the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Any takeover would be headed up by John Dawkins, a Sky Blues fan who is the UK managing director of record label Various Artists Management.

Sources close to Coventry owner Joy Seppala suggest she is not actively seeking to sell the Sky Blues.

The CBS Arena is owned by Premiership rugby union side Wasps.

McEvoy, founder of a San Diego-based mobile device distribution company, already holds ownership stakes in US National Hockey League team Nashville Predators and Major League Baseball outfit Colorado Rockies.

He works with Dawkins on the record label, where he is listed as a member of the senior management team. He bought a minority stake in the business, which manages artists such as Tom Grennan and The Libertines, back in 2019.

McEvoy attended the Sky Blues’ match with Millwall in August and has met with a senior figure at the club.

The businessman is the latest name to be linked with a takeover of the stadium – with the Daily Mail reporting interestexternal-link from ex-Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and the NEC Group.

Former Wasps chief executive David Armstrong has also been linked with a bid for the CBS Arena and the Premiership club.

There is uncertainty over the future of the stadium. Wasps bought the stadium operating company in 2014 and were granted a 250-year-lease by freehold owners Coventry City Council.

But Wasps are grappling with debts running into the tens of millions of pounds and have been forced to take court action to fend off attempts by HM Revenue and Customs to force the payment of unpaid tax.

Notices of intention to appoint administrators were filed on 4 October with the Insolvency and Companies Court against parent company Wasps Holdings Limited, Arena Coventry Limited, and the company which holds the stadium lease – Arena Coventry Ltd (2006).

The court action provided a 10 working day grace period, protecting Wasps against action from creditors – including HMRC, and bondholders who are owed £35m by the club.

Wasps’ latest statement insisted the club remained hopeful of securing the investment they need to avoid administration.

The statement, issued on 4 October, said: “A number of additional potential investors and funders have come forward. Discussions are now at a relatively advanced stage, and we remain hopeful of securing a deal that will allow the group, and the entities that sit within it, to move forward.”

The most recent set of accounts for Wasps Holdings, covering the financial year ending June 2021, showed an £18.5m loss over a two-year period, with current liabilities of £54.7m.

But the financial woes continue to mount, with another £1m interest due to bondholders next month as a result of delaying the full repayment, which was originally due in May.

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