Wigan owner Dave Whelan agrees sale of club to Hong Kong-based consortium

The International Entertainment Corporation, headed by pro gambler Fai Stanley, want to invest in the club ahead of their return to the Championship.

The Football League and Hong Kong Stock Exchange must now approve the deal, which will see IEC stake a majority shareholding in both the DW Stadium and the club's Christopher Park training ground.

IEC's main business interest is running a hotel and casino, while they are registered in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands.

They own the five-star, 32-floor AG New World Manila Bay hotel in the Filipino capital and showed six-month revenue of £13.7million revenue up to September 30 – although they made a £600,000 loss.

Wigan chairman David Sharpe said: "We are very proud of what we have achieved for the club.

"It is important to confirm that this process, which has taken longer than expected, has now reached the next stage.

"While we await formal approval and consent by the aforementioned parties, which may take some time, the Whelan family will do whatever it can to support the business operations and IEC during this transition."

Commenting on the prospect of buying Wigan, IEC said in February: “The proposed acquisition, if materialised, represents a good opportunity to diversify the income stream of the company and broaden its revenue base.”

Whelan, 81, bought the club in 1995 and oversaw its rise up three divisions and into the Premier League.

The former JJB Sports owner saw them last eight years in the top flight, eventually going down in the season they stunned Manchester City to win the FA Cup.

They were relegated in their second season back in the Championship and bounced straight back – only to get immediately relegated back into League One.

Whelan hopes that a cash injection ahead of next season will see the club able to tempt better players and help Latics keep hold of impressive boss Paul Cook and star forward Nick Powell.

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