Southampton have confirmed a takeover deal led by Serbian-born cable television mogul Dragan Solak in a deal thought to be worth £100m.
Solak is the lead investor of Sport Republic, who have purchased the shareholding of the club held by current owner Gao Jisheng (80%).
They will work in partnership with Katharina Liebherr, who retains her minority stake.
Solak and Sport Republic will look for more investments to expand the portfolio.
If the £100m acquisition of 80% is correct, as reported by Sky Sports, the club would be valued at around £200m once debts are factored in.
Henrik Kraft, chairman of Sports Republic, and former Brentford co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen are said to be involved in the takeover of the Saints.
Solak said: “My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and Sport Republic has been founded to combine this expertise and deliver something unique to the market.
“Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation. It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football and a dedicated fan base.
“We are delighted to be able to complete this acquisition as a first step towards execution of our investment strategy.
“Southampton will be a cornerstone of the organisation we plan to build.”
City A.M. columnist and Sky News City editor Mark Kleinman said earlier today: “The Premier League club Southampton FC is close to being sold to Dragan Solak, a Serbian-born businessman behind cable-TV operator United Group, according to my sources.
“I understand he is paying about £100m to buy the Saints from Gao Jisheng, who took control in 2017.”
Gao Jisheng had held an 80% stake in the club since 2017 and had been looking for investment for some time.
This will be the first takeover approved by the Premier League since the government-issued report into football ownership following the acquisition of Newcastle United.
Southampton are 10 points off the Premier League relegation zone and next play away to Swansea on Saturday in the FA Cup.
They next play in the Premier League on 11 January when they’re at home to Brentford.