Aston Villa sold for $120m to China group
CHINESE businessman Tony Xia has agreed to buy Aston Villa, the club said on Wednesday.
American owner Randy Lerner, who put the club on the market in 2014, struck a deal, which is reported to be worth £60 million (S$120 million), following their relegation from the Premier League last month.
"Aston Villa Football Club is pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed today for the sale of 100 per cent ownership by Randy Lerner to Recon Group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia subject to the approval of the Premier League and the Football League," a club statement said.
"Dr Xia's immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park. He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China with a huge fan base."
The purchase ends an unhappy tenure for Mr Lerner who bought the Midlands club for £62.2 million in 2006.
Fans openly demonstrated against his continued involvement with Villa who were European champions in 1982 and have won the English top-flight title seven times.
The statement said Mr Lerner had been keen to sell to the right owner, adding that the American believed Dr Xia was "an excellent choice" who had become a fan of the club many years ago.
Recon Group is Dr Xia's privately-owned holding company which owns a controlling interest in five publicly-listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges.