Wednesday looks for 20m

David Hellier
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday&rsquo;s chairman Lee Strafford has just appointed US banking advisers to help him flush out a &pound;20m investment for the Championship football club.<br /><br />Strafford, who co-founded PlusNet before selling it to BT in 2007 for &pound;67m, has just returned from the US where he and Wednesday chief executive Nick Parker met a number of potential partners.<br /><br />The two Sheffield directors were told they needed to appoint a US financial adviser if they wanted to be taken seriously.<br /><br />Yesterday they appointed Inner Circle Sports, who worked on the deal to sell Liverpool to its US owners and more recently advised on the sale of Premier League Sunderland to Ellis Short.<br /><br />Sources close to Wednesday say that a &pound;20m investment will give the new backers an 80 per cent shareholding.<br /><br />Bank debt is around &pound;22m but there are suggestions the banks may take a write-down of up to 50 per cent as part of any restructuring. There is a further &pound;3m owed to directors.<br /><br />Although Sheffield Wednesday has had a lacklustre recent history, the team still commands crowds often in excess of 25,000 at its stadium.<br /><br />The New York-based Inner Circle Sports has undertaken initial due diligence and said yesterday it believes the case for a potential investing syndicate is compelling.