Serbian media mogul Dragan Solak and his company, Sport Republic, have acquired a controlling stake in Southampton Football Club, it was announced on Tuesday.
The club confirmed the change of ownership, stating that Sport Republic had purchased the 80 per cent shareholding of the club held by Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng, and that they will work with Katharina Liebherr, who retains her 20 per cent.
Liebherr inherited the club from her late father Markus in 2010 when the Saints were in League One, with Gao buying the majority share in August 2017.
Lead investor of Sport Republic Solak told the club’s website: “My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry.
“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.”
Current Chief Executive Officer Martin Semmens added: “Over the last two years, together with the shareholders of our club, we have searched for the right partner to take the club forward. Today we have found the perfect solution for our club.
“Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced within the world of elite professional sports.
“That combination is very hard to find, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement that secures our short and long-term future.”
Sport Republic was founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen, Brentford’s former co-director of football who only recently left the Bees.
A new era at #SaintsFC
We can confirm that Sport Republic has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in Southampton Football Club.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 4, 2022
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