Derby’s joint administrators have named Chris Kirchner as the preferred bidder for the struggling Championship club.
The administrators confirmed they have entered a period of exclusivity with Kirchner, an American software entrepreneur, in the belief that a deal will secure the club’s long-term future.
In a statement they said: “Following a rigorous and well-documented marketing process, the joint administrators of Derby have accepted an offer from Chris Kirchner to acquire Derby out of administration.
“This follows receipt of his recent bid for the club. The bid is for the purchase of the football club only with the terms of the club’s ongoing occupation of Pride Park stadium to be negotiated with external stakeholders.
“Discussions have taken place with key stakeholders, and Mr Kirchner has been named as the preferred bidder for the club, with immediate effect.
“The joint administrators have entered into a period of exclusivity with Mr Kirchner and his advisers, during which further operational, commercial and contractual discussions will take place.”
The Rams were placed in administration last September and issued with a regulation 12-point penalty as a result, as well as being hit with an additional nine-point penalty for breaches of accounting rules.
Kirchner ended his initial interest in the club in December but recently returned to negotiations following a failed bid to take over Championship rivals Preston.
Joint administrator Carl Jackson said: “We are delighted to be able to name Mr Kirchner as preferred bidder, which the joint administrators consider represents the best deal for creditors and one which will secure the long-term future of the club.
“The naming of our preferred bidder represents a significant milestone in the administration, and we look forward to working with Mr Kirchner and his team to complete the sale of the club.”
Despite their points deductions, Wayne Rooney’s men have waged a strong battle against relegation. However, Reading’s win over Stoke on Tuesday night left the Rams eight points adrift of safety.