Eric Watson in no rush to sell Warriors to Auckland businessman

Eric Watson has been involved with the Warriors since 2000.
BEVAN READ/STUFF

Eric Watson has been involved with the Warriors since 2000.

Eric Watson insists he's in no rush to sell the Warriors.

The 17-year-owner of the New Zealand NRL club has confirmed that he's in negotiations to sell his 90 per cent stake of the Warriors, but says he's committed to doing what's best for the club.

Auckland businessman Paul Davys has confirmed he's in talks with Watson and says a deal is close, but Watson says there are other interested parties. 

Paul Davys is director of ChoiceKids childcare centre and hoping to buy the New Zealand Warriors.
CHOICEKIDS/SCREENGRAB

Paul Davys is director of ChoiceKids childcare centre and hoping to buy the New Zealand Warriors.

"While I'm often approached about selling the club I will confirm that I'm in conversation with a few different parties about the Vodafone Warriors," Watson said on Sunday afternoon. 

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"But I'm in no rush and I'm keen to do what's best for the club.

"Any discussions are private and I won't be commenting publicly about the conversations other than saying right now there is no deal."

Earlier on Sunday Davys went public that he's an interested party and believes he can make a difference if he becomes owner of the Warriors.

He is a co-director with former Kiwis international Peter Brown of childcare centre ChoiceKids and told Radio Live he is close to agreeing to terms with Watson to take control of the Warriors and that it's his passion for the sport that made him want to get involved.

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"I'm a rugby league supporter and I can see that the Warriors are the heart and soul of New Zealand rugby league," Davys told Radio Live.

"I feel I can make a difference, that's really what sparked my interest."

It looks unlikely Brown, an NRL agent who represents Shaun Johnson, will join his business partner in the ownership if a deal is signed.

On his childcare centre's website, Davys describes himself as "an entrepreneur with a background in sales and marketing, management and banking".

The club's managing director, Jim Doyle currently owns 10 per cent of the Warriors. He has not been involved in any negotiations about any takeover of the club, but is in regular communication with the UK based Watson.

Doyle has no interest in increasing his stake in the Warriors and it is unknown what arrangements would be made for his 10 per cent of the club, if Davys buys Watson's share.

Watson, who bought into the club in 2000, faces having to pay former partner Sir Owen Glenn $228 million over a joint European property venture called Spartan Capital. The final outcome of the legal battle is yet to be announced by the Chancery Division of the London High Court.

Glenn became a co-owner of the Warriors in 2011, but had an acrimonious split with Watson and eventually sold his share of the club back to Watson, having previously said he would gift it to Warriors fans.

Given the on field issues at the club through this disastrous season, off field uncertainty at this time can't be helpful, especially as they are currently trying to recruit big name players for next season.

 - Stuff

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