US Crypto investment group WAGMI United have had a takeover bid an English Football League team rejected.
The offer had been confirmed by the group in an interview with the Washington Post, where it was suggested that they were in “advanced talks” to buy an English League club. It was later revealed by club Chairman Stefan Rupp, that the club in question was Bradford City.
The investment group had hinted that they could be in charge of The Bantams within the next month. However, Rupp denied a deal was imminent, only confirming that he had received an offer.
The report explained that WAGMI United want to make “NFTs a cornerstone of the organizational blueprint around which it hopes to build a vibrant — and financially invested — digital community.”
The group is headed by Preston Johnson, a prominent sports gambling analyst and Eben Smith, who previously worked as a derivatives trader but who now specialises in NFT’s. Also involved is Daryl Morey, Head of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, social media personality Bryce Hall and businessman Gary Vaynerchuk.
Discussing the potential deal, Johnson said that it was the “perfect time” to get involved in English football.
“Owning a club is kind of like a dream as a kid, right?” Johnson said. “So this is our chance, and it’s kind of the perfect time. Everything’s hitting exactly right with what we can do with digital branding and communities and crypto.”
Smith said that the group would be trying “a bunch of unconventional stuff” should a deal come together, while addressing potential hostility that they might face from the Bradford City fanbase.
“I not only think that’s a fear,” Smith said, “that’s kind of our expectation. The truth is that if you want to run an English football club in a conventional way, you can guarantee yourself that you’re going to lose 300,000 to 500,000 pounds a year with no pathway to growth and no way to get out of it because there’s a town right next door.
“So we are going to try a bunch of unconventional stuff but will be pretty much led by the numbers from an analytical perspective. And our hope is that it works. There’s not that much downside if it doesn’t.”
However, speaking to Bradford City’s website, Chairman Rupp has confirmed that the bid has been rejected.
“A great deal has been aired publicly since the offer was made. This, as well as a number of factors which will remain private, has led me to this decision,”
“As a proud custodian of this wonderful football club, my first and most important responsibility is to protect it and safeguard its long-term future, while upholding our values.
“I, and certainly no one else connected to this football club, is actively trying to promote its sale, and my commitment has not changed.
“The matter is closed, and our attention returns to what is truly important, as we build towards a strong second half of the season and aim to achieve our goals.”
Bradford City currently sit 16th in League Two.