Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley took over the Coventry Building Society Arena after buying its three operating companies.
Ashley’s Frasers Group’s takeover of the 32,609 seat stadium has provided Coventry City Football Club with a permanent home next season and has secured the future of 1,000 jobs at the stadium, which houses a hotel and casino. The ground, formerly known as Ricoh Arena, was also the home of the Wasps rugby club before it went into administration last month.
Frasers Group started out as Sports Direct, but its name was changed to Frasers four years ago after it bought the department store chain of the same name. Frasers owns a number of other retailers, including Game, Jack Wills, and Missguided. The retail conglomerate is headed by Michael Murray, the 58-year-old son-in-law of Ashley, the founder.
He bought the three operating companies of the arena after a £17 million bid for the businesses.
Ashley’s group beat out Doug King, the new owner of Coventry City, on the deal, after a court ruled that King’s offer of £25 million to buy the arena had come too late.
On Wednesday, Coventry City agreed a deal to sell an 85 per cent stake in Championship football club to King. The deal is subject to approval by the English Football League.
Andrew Sheridan and Raj Mittal of FRP Advisory were given the task of finding a buyer for the venue after becoming joint managers of Arena Coventry Limited, Arena Coventry (2006) Limited and IEC Experience Limited.
Frasers’ purchase of the stadium comes a month after plans were announced to house the group’s world headquarters in nearby Ansty, Warwickshire.