Wasps confirm completion of takeover
September 14, 2012
Christian Wade is one of Wasps' promising players © Getty Images
London Wasps have confirmed that the ownership of the Aviva Premiership side has now passed to a consortium spearheaded by former player Ken Moss.
The club was put up for sale by former owner Steve Hayes in October last year with the uncertainty regarding the future of the club extending throughout a troubled season that saw them narrowly escape relegation from English rugby's top flight.
Contracts were exchanged during the summer but the agonising wait continued with the club forced to issue assurances that the takeover was heading in the right direction. A conclusion had still not been reached by the start of the Premiership campaign but the club has now announced "the culmination of a successful takeover process" with the completion of the sale of Hayes' shares in the club.
Wasps say they will continue to play at Adams Park in Wycombe "for the foreseeable future", but added that the new owners had placed a "long-term priority" on developing a new stadium. The majority of Wasps office staff will be based at their Twyford Avenue training ground in Acton, with a new board of directors to be appointed shortly.
Mark Rigby will continue as chairman but they have brought in a new CEO with David Thorne joining the club after spells with Thomas Cook, Powercorp, GE Finance, and Sky.
The Wycombe District Council's decision to turn down planning permission for a new stadium in the area was one primary reason behind Hayes' decision to sell the side. Wasps currently play at Adams Park but last season had an average attendance of just 6,182 in the Premiership.
It is unclear what role Moss will have with the side but Rigby was delighted to announce the sale. He said: "It has undoubtedly been a lengthy process and there have been some complex financial issues involved, but we are pleased that the situation finally has been resolved.
"The vision of everyone involved in the consortium who will take the club forward, is to ensure that London Wasps becomes a sustainable business long-term. In the short term we have some major work to get the company back on a sound financial footing and our priority is to stabilise the business after a rocky and difficult 12 months for everyone involved.
"It is our hope to confirm our new board of directors plus additional staff resource as soon as possible. All stakeholders, including supporters, will be fully kept up to date with our progress and changes. We are also in the process of finalising a number of new sponsorship deals which, now we have confirmed ownership, will be progressed strongly."
Rigby also added his thanks to Hayes: "I would like to thank Steve for his financial support over the last few years which shouldn't be underestimated. Under his ownership, the club sought to be innovative off the pitch with the development of the St George's Day brand and in taking the first English domestic competitive game overseas."
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Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.