Middle Eastern-based recruitment firm to take over Hartlepool United

Hartlepool United has been sold - and Middle Eastern-based recruitment firm JPNG Global is set to take over the club.

A statement on the club’s website tonight confirmed that owners IOR have reached a deal – but does not say who the new buyers are.

Ken Hodcroft is stepping down as chairman of Hartlepool United following the sale of the club.

Ken Hodcroft is stepping down as chairman of Hartlepool United following the sale of the club.

Further details will be announced on Monday, say club officials.

But JPNG Global, a specialist recruitment consultancy firm with clients in Dubai, the UAE, and UK, have been linked with a move to takeover Pools.

JPNG Global have offices in Dubai and London.

Confirmation the club has been sold comes six months after a failed takeover bid by TMH (The Monkey Hangers) 2014, which was fronted by businessman Peter Harris.

League Two Pools has remained for sale ever since and chairman Ken Hodcroft has confirmed he has stepped down as chairman today following the announcement.

Hodcroft and chief executive Russ Green, who is expected to remain as chief executive, have been working to bring in investment from local businesses and from further afield.

A Pools statement read: “For approximately 18 years IOR have owned Hartlepool United but today they can announce that new owners will be taking over the club and Ken Hodcroft will step down as chairman from today.

“IOR believe this will be in the best interests for taking the club forward into hopefully some exciting years ahead.

“IOR would like to thank everybody for working together from January onwards to pull off ‘The Great Escape’ at the end of last season, including all members of staff and, particularly, the fans who gave their full support to the club and IOR through what was a very critical period for the club.

“A further more detailed statement will be made on Monday 22nd June.”

Back in February, Hodcroft spoke about the decision not to sell the club to TMH 2014.

The proposed takeover collapsed at the 12th hour following serious concerns within the club’s hierarchy about TMH’s long-term plans for the club.

Those concerns were serious enough to call it off six weeks after it was first announced.

Hodcroft insisted the decision was taken with the interest of the club in mind.

The share purchase agreement (SPA) was signed in mid-December but TMH had been waiting for Football League approval, which involved passing the owners and director’s test and proving proof of funding.

They got that partial approval at the end of January subject to a few amendments - which is the point the club and IOR called off the sale, as revealed by SportMail.