EXCLUSIVE: Leeds United set for cash injection as Radrizzani prepares to sell minority stake
Andrea Radrizzani is set to bring new investors to Leeds United with the sale of a minority stake in the club, the YEP has learned.
United’s Italian owner is in negotiations with a foreign party over an injection of funds which is expected to reduce his shareholding to around 90 per cent.
The deal is understood to be at an advanced stage and would provide the club with additional money for this summer’s transfer window.
If the sale goes ahead as planned, Radrizzani would remain as chairman at Elland Road and retain majority control of a club he bought outright a year ago.
The 43-year-old, who made his wealth via the sale of TV sports rights, became sole owner of Leeds last May after paying £45m to buy out fellow Italian Massimo Cellino.
The takeover was fronted by Greenfield Investment Pte Ltd, a firm controlled by Radrizzani’s investment company Aser.
A loan of almost £9m made to the club by Greenfield was converted into club shares last week, documents published by Companies House reveal. The conversion was an initial step towards finalising new investment.
Radrizzani and Cellino had worked as joint owners for four months prior to his takeover following Radrizzani’s purchase of a 50 per cent stake in December 2016.
His first season in outright control, however, was a disappointing one, ending with Leeds lying 13th in the Championship. Radrizzani, who set a top-six finish as the club’s target, is facing a crucial summer in which Leeds will attempt to improve a squad who fell 15 points short of the play-offs.
The proposed sale of equity would improve the financial strength of a club whose last accounts year showed an overall profit of almost £1m but an operating loss of more than £9m.
Leeds’ commercial revenue has improved markedly in the past 12 months, in part because of increased home attendances and higher season-ticket sales, but Radrizzani revealed to the YEP in February that a rise of more than £7m in the club’s wage had left United at the top of their budget.
Amongst the club’s targets this summer is Kyle Bartley, the Swansea City defender who spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Elland Road. United want to make concerted changes to their squad having failed to challenge for promotion.
Radrizzani is currently abroad on Leeds’ controversial two-match tour of Myanmar, a trip arranged by Aser and in connection with Eleven Sports, his TV network. The planned investment deal, however, is not believed to be related to that trip.