Deal to sell Perth Glory to Primeland tycoon terminated

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The sale of embattled A-Leagues club Perth Glory to Melbourne property tycoon Robert Brij has been terminated days before a formal takeover.

In October, the A-League’s governing body Australian Professional Leagues revealed a consortium led by Brij’s Primeland Group would take the reins alongside entrepreneur John Nekic.

Former Perth Glory owner Tony Sage.Credit: Getty Images

But WAtoday can reveal the contract was terminated after conditions were not met.

The deal, which was due to be finalised in a matter of days, marked the end of an 11-week search for a new owner by receivers at KordaMentha, who were handed the club after it was surrendered by Perth businessman Tony Sage.

KordaMentha’s receivers have not yet responded to multiple requests for comment.

Sage’s 17-year ownership of the club was brought to an abrupt end in July when the APL slapped his company Okewood with a breach notice.

The notice came amid revelations the A-League’s governing body had been bankrolling the club’s player and staff wages via secured loans for five months.

A receiver’s report lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission shows it did so to the tune of $4.4 million, making it the entity’s second-largest creditor behind Okewood itself – which is said to have loaned the club $33 million.

Sage, a mining entrepreneur who was also part-owner of Perth Fashion Festival before its collapse, has been mulling sale options for years claiming he had spent $48 million trying to keep the organisation afloat.

He has previously pinned the club’s financial woes on the impact of COVID-19 on its income streams and its forced relocation during HBF Park’s revamp for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

It is understood more than half a dozen bids were received, but receivers have remained coy about the details of the deal and how much Sage is likely to recoup.

The APL has previously claimed licenses issued for its expansion into Auckland and Canberra could go for up to $25 million.

But sources close to the deal have suggested the club would need a sustainable, well-funded entity to take the helm, with an up-front payment and ongoing multimillion-dollar investment required.

Meanwhile, a bid to have liquidators appointed to Sage’s company Okewood Pty Ltd by creditor Kakka Enterprises is continuing on the basis the company is allegedly insolvent.

The entity, which lists businessman Kenneth Keogh as its director, is purported to have a small stake in the club.

Sage is also still contesting allegations of tax evasion levelled by the tax office, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Australian Federal Police.

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