An American consortium interested in purchasing West Ham have had a second bid turned down by the current owners.
The Hammers have been majority owned by David Gold and David Sullivan since 2010, who have seen their relationship with the fans plummet since the club’s controversial move to the London Stadium in 2016.
Despite being promised a side capable of breaking into the Premier League top six, West Ham’s change of home has brought little success.
As well as fan disgruntlement over the stadium move, Gold and Sullivan’s poor record of squad recruitment and management over the years has also drawn much criticism.
Earlier this month, long-serving club captain Mark Noble appeared to hit out at the Hammers’ hierarchy on Twitter for their decision to sell youth prospect Grady Diangana to West Brom – a stance backed by several of his teammates, as well as fans.
However, despite the many issues, Gold and Sullivan have no interest in selling up at West Ham unless the interested party raises its bid considerably.
According to the Guardian, the consortium are currently involved in US sports and saw an opening offer of £350m rejected at the start of August.
More recently, they raised their bid to £400m but this was again rebuffed by the current ownership who paid £105m for a 50% stake in the club back in January 2010.
After being knocked back for a second time, the American consortium are now enjoying a ‘cooling-off period’ in which they will consider their options. It is understood that the potential new owners have compiled a business plan to improve the club’s finances.
West Ham made a pre-tax loss of £28.8m in the last financial year. A significant part of their expenditure is the £2.5m per year they pay in rent to for the London Stadium. It is thought that the consortium is weighing up the possibility of purchasing the Stratford-based arena.
Despite their lofty ambitions, the takeover may be challenging to compete. As part of the deal that saw the Hammers move to their new home, Gold and Sullivan will have to pay a 20% penalty to the taxpayer if the club is sold for more than £300m before March 2023.
However, if West Ham endure another tough start to the season, fan pressure for Gold and Sullivan to sell could prove overwhelming.