Football club takeover deal moves a step closer

Date published: 13 March 2024

World Soccer Holdings LLC's potential takeover of Rochdale AFC appears to have moved a step closer.

The club has issued a brief statement, indicating that the American company intends to purchase newly-issued shares imminently.

The statement read: "Rochdale AFC can confirm that it has entered into a short period of exclusivity with World Soccer Holdings LLC.

"This period of exclusivity is in relation to the proposed acquisition of the newly-created shares in the club, following the recent EGM.

"Further updates will follow in due course, and the club will endeavour to keep all stakeholders up to date during this period."

Ahead of last week's (7 March) Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), where shareholders approved the issue of nine million new shares, Rochdale AFC said that a Letter Of Intent (LOI) to purchase the 117-year-old club had been received from WSH.

The day after the EGM the club then announced that a second LOI to purchase the club had been received from another American firm, The Football Club LLC.

Club directors announced last month that the club was looking for an investor to gain 90% of the club at a cost of £2 million so it can continue.

Chairman Simon Gauge – who became involved in the club in June 2021 – has put in more than half a million pounds over the last few months to keep the club going, but has said he has now reached his credit limit.

Without investment, the fan-owned club will be forced into liquidation after years of “perilous” finances.

Speaking last month, Gauge revealed Dale’s “major asset” was the stadium, but had “little else of financial value.”

Describing the club as “asset-rich and cash-poor,” Gauge said he and his family have subsidised the club with £566,000 to “buy time to find investment to take the club forward.”

He said that, had he and his fellow directors “been fully aware of what they were taking on” after the club was relegated from League One and the post-Covid period, “we would not have got involved.”

“To be clear, the existence of Rochdale AFC is at stake," Gauge said ahead of the recent EGM.

Jim McNulty's Rochdale team beat Woking 2-1 at the Crown Oil Arena last night thanks to Devante Rodney's late winner.

Dale now sit in 11th place in the National League table, so appear destined for a mid-table finish this term.

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