SFX withdraws Wembley bid

THE CONTROVERSIAL deal to sell Wembley Stadium to a trust backed by the Football Association for pounds 106m looks set to go ahead today after SFX Entertainment, the American leisure giant, yesterday abandoned its plans to mount a bid for the stadium's parent company, Wembley.

SFX was thought to have pulled out last night after Wembley's board, led by its three executive directors, refused to postpone today's extraordinary general meeting in order to allow the US company more time to prepare a bid.

SFX had indicated that it would be prepared to bid up to 450p a share in cash for Wembley, valuing the company at pounds 250m. However, the group had asked for several weeks to allow it to complete its due diligence, a request which was refused.

SFX is thought to have proposed a deal whereby the stadium would still be sold to the trust in order for it to be redeveloped in time for the 2006 World Cup, which England hopes to stage. However, the US company had planned to negotiate a deal which would allow it to manage the stadium and the grounds around it. Apart from the stadium, Wembley controls the Wembley Arena and the conference facilities, as well as a large plot of land.

Wembley's three non-executive directors - Roger Brooke, Peter Mead and Jarvis Astaire - have openly lobbied against the deal agreed between Wembley and the FA and have actively encouraged bidders to enter the fray. SFX made its interest known after ENIC, the investment company which owns a stake in Glasgow Rangers, submitted a conditional cash and shares bid.

However Wembley's executive directors, led by the chairman Claes Hultman, have rejected offers from both SFX and ENIC as undervaluing the company.

They have also refused to delay the vote, arguing that it would jeopardise the proposed deal with the FA. The executive directors have promised to return a proportion of the pounds 106m to shareholders.

Despite the setback, it is thought that SFX will continue to look for other investment opportunities in continental Europe. Wembley shares closed down 2.5p at 364p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable