WARRIORS’ administrators Begbies Traynor have chosen former chief executive Jim O’Toole’s consortium as their preferred bidders for the relegated Premiership club.
O’Toole and business partner James Sandford, backed by US investment, have exclusivity ahead of several bids including one led by Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond.
The Sixways side collapsed at the end of September when administrators were called in to the ailing former top-flight side.
Former owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring not only faced a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs, who are owed more than £6million and debts including Covid Government loans of up to £15million.
While Warriors were relegated from the Gallagher Premiership after entering administration, the University of Worcester Warriors Women have made a return to top-flight action.
Julie Palmer, from Begbies Traynor, confirmed the positive move for the Allianz Premier 15 side and the preferred bid for the club, stadium and surrounding land in a statement on Sunday (October 30)
“The acquiring consortium represented by Jim O’Toole and James Sandford is fully committed to moving as quickly as possible to satisfy the criteria of RFU and PRL that they are fully funded to take the club forward with the ambition of returning to the Premiership as soon as possible,” she said.
“This remains a complex transaction with pressing deadlines but I am hopeful all stakeholders will move with the requisite speed to rescue this club which has excellent facilities, strong community ties and huge potential.
“I would also like to record my heartfelt thanks to the dedicated and hard-working staff who have helped us to stage a programme of non-rugby events in the coming weeks and provided invaluable assistance to the Joint Administrators.
“Details of the other parties involved in the consortium will be shared once the sale is concluded and no further comment will be made until that time,” the statement added.
“This is a positive and major step in the process,” said O’Toole and Sandford in their statement.
“As has always been, a focus remains on retaining an elite-level rugby club, based on a viable long-term strategic business model at Sixways, for the immediate benefit of the community of Worcestershire and beyond into the wider game of rugby.
“The process remains complex, needs complete confidentiality and will require our full attention until it runs its course.”
Both asked fans for patience and pledged to make no further comment until the period of exclusivity concluded.