Dragan Solak-backed company buys Southampton
Southampton have been taken over by a company backed by Serb media mogul Dragan Solak.
The Premier League club confirmed Sport Republic has bought Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng’s 80% stake.
Gao took over Southampton in August 2017, with Katharina Liebherr, who inherited the club from her late father Markus in 2010 when they were in League One, retaining 20%.
Liebherr will continue to own her minority stake in the new deal.
Saints are 14th in the Premier League, after being promoted to the top flight in 2012.
Solak is chairman and founder of the United Group media company, while Southampton say Sport Republic is “an investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry”.
The club’s chief executive Martin Semmens says the deal is the “perfect solution” for them.
“Over the last two years, together with the shareholders of our club, we have searched for the right partner to take the club forward,” said Semmens.
“We have found partners with ambition for the future, but with a clear understanding of what Southampton stands for and the direction we must go in now.”
Solak says Southampton will be the “cornerstone” of his organisation.
“Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation,” he added.
“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.”