Sunderland owner Stewart Donald enters ‘period of exclusivity’ with prospective buyer – BBC News

Stewart Donald took over Sunderland from Ellis Short in May 2018

Sunderland owner Stewart Donald has entered a period of exclusivity with a prospective buyer and could sell before the new season starts in September, BBC Radio Newcastle reports.

Donald, who stepped down as chairman earlier this month, has publicly stated he is “desperate” to sell his share and encouraged fans to unite to buy it.

Up to a week ago, he said no interested party had provided proof of funds.

The asking price for the League One club is £37.6m.

That equates to the sum he paid back in 2018 when he took over from Texas-based businessman Ellis Short.

There have been several public expressions of interest, such as from former player Micky Gray and Hong Kong businessman Sammy Yu, as well as US businessman Mark Campbell.

Donald has also stated he will be careful to pass the club onto the right buyer, and has previously encouraged fans’ trusts to consider a bid.

“It’s about the deal,” he told BBC Radio Newcastle earlier this month. “Do I want to sell to a credible person that will take the football club forward? Of course I do.

“What I would like the fans to understand is that despite the reports, I am trying to do that.

“If the pressure sort of cranks up there does become a little desperation to say look, I just want to move on with my life and be safe. I’ve done what I’ve done.

“Now the mechanism by which to sell is that I don’t think I should take a loss on the football club because I think it is in a much better condition [than when he bought it].”

Analysis – ‘The process has accelerated’

BBC Radio Newcastle’s Sunderland commentator Nick Barnes

After four or five months of seemingly nothing happening regarding the sale of the club, with it going quiet during lockdown, the issue has been reignited.

Owner Stewart Donald met with fans and gave an interview to BBC Radio Newcastle where he categorically stated he was leaving and that the club was up for sale – but that nobody had “shown an intent on closing off a deal”.

Now it seems that the process has accelerated. There is the possibility that the club could be sold by the start of next season.

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