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NEC Group ‘submits bid’ for Coventry Building Society Arena

Featured image credit: Lewis Clarke/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size

Birmingham-based live events business NEC Group is reportedly interested in purchasing the Coventry Building Society Arena, home of Premiership rugby union club Wasps and Championship football team Coventry City.

Sky News has reported that NEC Group, which operates the National Exhibition Centre, Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena, lodged a bid for the 32,000-seat stadium last week.

CBS Arena is owned by Wasps but the club is facing the prospect of administration due to the threat of HM Revenue & Customs action over unpaid tax. Wasps said in a statement last month that it had begun the process of going into administration due to its financial problems.

Sky News, citing a source close to the matter, reported that NEC Group’s bid for CBS Arena does not extend to Wasps, which filed a second notice of intention to appoint an administrator last week.

Former Wasps chief executive David Armstrong is also reportedly working on a bid to buy the club and CBS Arena through a link-up with investment firm Terminum Capital.

NEC Group is owned by private equity firm Blackstone, which acquired the business in 2018 in a deal worth a reported £800m (€911m/$884m).

Wasps’ fellow Premiership club Worcester Warriors was last week suspended from the competition for the remainder of the current season due to its own financial problems.

The decision, following a meeting of the RFU’s Club Financial Viability Group, triggered the Warriors’ relegation from the Premiership, and therefore, if investors can be secured, the club will restart in the Championship in season 2023-24. The club can appeal the decision if it can show there was no fault insolvency.