Wigan Athletic is set to be the latest English football club to be taken over by wealthy foreign investors.
Chairman of Wigan FC, Dave Whelan, who also owns DW Sports Fitness, which recently purchased the Fitness First group, has agreed in principle to sell the club to a Hong Kong-listed company.
The International Entertainment Corporation said in a statement: “If materialised, represents a good opportunity to diversify the income stream of the company and broaden its revenue base.”
The International Entertainment Corporation, whose principal business is running a hotel and casino in the Philippines said it had been given a two-week exclusive window until Feb 14 to negotiate the takeover terms with Whelan.
The move highlights the appeal of lower-league clubs to wealthy foreign investors as Premier League team Leicester City FC has Thailand’s King Power Group as owner, Championship team Aston Villa is owned by Recon Group’s Dr Tony Xia of China and Cardiff City is owned by Berjaya Group’s Vincent Tan of Malaysia.
Whelan, took over at Wigan in 1995 and presided over the club’s rise from the fourth tier to the Premier League a decade later.