Hong Kong-based hotel and casino company International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) has reached an outline agreement to purchase League One club Wigan Athletic.
Registered in the Cayman Islands, the firm announced the agreement of a “term sheet” to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last week, stating that they would have an exclusive fortnight (ending 14th February) to negotiate the price and details of the purchase.
IEC is perhaps most notable for owning the five-star, 32-floor AG New World Manila Bay hotel and casino complex in the Filipino capital.
Commenting on the deal, IEC said: [The company] has continued to review the existing principal businesses of the group and look for potential business opportunities in order to diversify the group’s business.
“The proposed acquisition, if materialised, represents a good opportunity to diversify the income stream of the company and broaden its revenue base.”
The company added that purchase of Wigan Athletic “may constitute a very substantial acquisition for the company.”
Wigan’s current owner, former footballer and JJB Sports magnate Dave Whelan, bought his local club back in 1995 and oversaw successive promotions along with a FA Cup win in 2013.
In 2015 he resigned as the club’s chairman and his grandson David Sharpe was appointed to run the club. Sharpe has since confirmed that talks were ongoing and promised that the family would seek a buyer who had the best interests of the club at heart.