Insolvency firm Quantuma released a statement this evening claiming that they have had “limited contact” until recently with David Rubin and Partners, the administrators at the club, or their preferred bidders, the Football Ventures consortium.
Several interested parties have registered their interest to buy the hotel, including two commercial chains and a number of individuals, the latest of which appears to be former Nottingham Forest owner, Fawaz Al-Hasawi.
Al-Hasawi sold Forest to Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis in May 2017 after four-and-a-half years in charge at the City Ground.
His time at the club ended acrimoniously, however, eventually leading to a successful High Court claim over £4.2million of loans which related to Forest’s sale.
Football Ventures have all-but completed the process of buying the club but have delayed making an announcement to try and buy both businesses concurrently.
Among the company's listed directors is Michael James, the Westhoughton-based property developer who also has loans secured against the Bolton Whites Hotel.
Concerns have been voiced among supporters over what would happen to their involvement at Bolton should they fail to buy the hotel – and the content of Quantuma’s statement, which indicates they are only part-way through the process – is unlikely to calm nerves.
Quantuma do note, however, that they are “sympathetic” to the timeframe involved.
The statement read: “While there is a close relationship between the football club and the Bolton Whites Hotel, they are two separate legal entities, which has given rise to them having their own individual secured and unsecured creditors.
“In addition, there is a substantial inter-company debt due to the hotel from the football club. It is for these reasons that separate administrators were appointed over the business and assets of the hotel and football club; to avoid potential conflicts of interest and to protect the interest of the separate stakeholders.
“As the joint administrators of Bolton Whites Hotel Limited, our statutory duty is to act in the best interests of all of the creditors of the Hotel. We are also duty bound to remain impartial.
“At the time of our appointment, the hotel was closed. The joint administrators’ determined that re-opening the hotel would benefit all creditors. Therefore, the joint administrators focus has been on returning it to operational viability.
“This has involved significant challenges including securing key supplies, allaying customer concerns, ensuring the hotel is re-listed on booking websites and ensuring any health and safety issues have been resolved.
“We have also implemented a programme of limited emergency capital expenditure to ensure the ongoing trading of the business.
“We could not have achieved all of this without the ongoing commitment of all of the staff of the hotel, and are pleased that we have been able to pay wages and salaries of the staff including their arrears at the date of our appointment.
“We have commenced a marketing and sales process of the hotel and have appointed agents to manage the process, which has received significant interest from potential purchasers. We expect the process to run for four to six weeks and do not propose to comment on progress during this time, as discussions will be confidential.
“While we note press comment regarding the sale of the football club, until recently we had had only limited interaction with the football club administrators and no contact with potential purchasers of the club.
“The joint administrators are sympathetic to the football club’s need to complete an urgent sale before the start of the new season and cognisant of the emotional impact the current situation is having on the fan base and local community.
However, the joint administrators obligations remain to fulfil their statutory duties.”