Suffolk solicitor says new evidence fuels Ipswich Town takeover rumours

Ipswich Town had to shut and clean their Playford Road training base following an illness bug. Photo

Ipswich Town had to shut and clean their Playford Road training base following an illness bug. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk solicitor believes recent Land Registry searches suggest a widely-speculated takeover of Ipswich Town by an American-led investment group could be close to fruition.

Town fan Paul Munnings, commercial property associate at Ipswich-based solicitors Prettys, discovered a priority search for the Playford Road and Bent Lane training centres on the HM Land Registry website.

The searches, which prevent any charges or rights being made on the property for 30 days, are usually carried out before an exchange of contracts, he says.

In this case, the searches have been lodged by a national law firm for their client Gamechanger 20 Limited – a company with rumoured bidders Brett Johnson and Berke Bakay among others as directors.

Speculation over a takeover has been rife online for several weeks, with The Athletic reporting a bid had been made by a group led by Mr Johnson – who is behind American clubs Phoenix Rising and FC Tucson – and a sale was on "the verge" of completion.

But Blues owner Marcus Evans has continued to brush off the rumours however, saying no acceptable deal is currently on the table.

Paul Munnings, commercial property associate at Ipswich-based solicitors Prettys

Paul Munnings, commercial property associate at Ipswich-based solicitors Prettys - Credit: Prettys Solicitors LLP

Mr Munnings said the search provides "concrete evidence" that discussions have occurred.

He said: "A priority search stakes your claim in the queue of registration – it alerts people that you intend to go through with a transaction.

"If you ever buy a house or re-mortgage, your solicitor will lodge a priority search before completion to protect you as a buyer and your lender.

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“A priority search is typically only carried out in the immediate days before an exchange of contracts so this is likely to mean that a conditional contract for the takeover of the club is already in place.

"It certainly looks like it could be close, we are seeing the right signs. It provides some concrete evidence that something clearly is happening."

Mr Munning stressed caution however, with potential pitfalls still remaining.

He added: "To me, it all points towards one thing, a deal that has either been agreed or one that is at an advanced stage – although I'm not saying that the deal might not fall through or fail to get approval by the EFL.

"Nothing is definitive."

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