The former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has taken over the Coventry Building Society Arena after buying its three operating companies.
The acquisition by Ashley’s Frasers Group 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 in the stadium, which houses a hotel and a casino. The ground, previously know as the Ricoh Arena was also the home of Wasps rugby club before it went into administration last month.
Frasers Group began as Sports Direct, but its name was changed to Frasers four years ago after the purchase of the eponymous high street department stores chain. Frasers owns a string of other retailers, including Game, Jack Wills and Missguided. The retail conglomerate is headed by Michael Murray, son-in-law of Ashley, 58, the founder.
It bought the arena’s three operating companies after a £17 million bid for the businesses.
Ashley’s group beat Doug King, Coventry City’s new owner, to the deal, after a court ruled that King’s £25 million offer to buy the arena had come too late.
On Wednesday Coventry City agreed a deal to sell an 85 per cent stake in the Championship football club to King. The agreement is subject to approval from the English Football League.
Andrew Sheridan and Raj Mittal, from FRP Advisory, were given the task of with finding a buyer for the venue after being made joint administrators of Arena Coventry Limited, Arena Coventry (2006) Limited and IEC Experience Limited.
Frasers’ purchase of the stadium comes a month after plans to house the group’s global headquarters in nearby Ansty, Warwickshire were announced.