Andrea Radrizzani has sealed his long-awaited investment in Leeds United with the purchase of a 50 per cent stake from Massimo Cellino.
The Elland Road club will move forward under joint ownership between Radrizzani and Cellino after months of talks over an equity sale reached a positive conclusion today.
Radrizzani has acquired half of United’s shares through his company Aser Group Holding. The stake was bought via a separate acquisition firm, Greenfield Investment Pte Ltd.
The Italian businessman, who was one of the founders of the global media rights firm MP & Silva and helped built it into a company worth more than £500m, first began discussing a deal with Cellino in May of last year.
Discussions ran into trouble in October but an agreement was resurrected before Christmas, allowing Radrizzani to complete his investment in the early stages of the January transfer window.
The 42-year-old said recently that he was acquiring a 50 per cent stake in United with a view to buying out Cellino completely at the end of this season.
“Andrea is young and brings a new energy with him, as well as having a good experience in the football media business, which is the future for all clubs.Massimo Cellino
Cellino, who is abroad in Miami, has owned Leeds since April 2014 and secured 100 per cent control of the club last year, ending Gulf Finance House’s involvement at Elland Road, but he is due to start an 18-month Football Association ban on February after being found guilty of sanctioning an illegal payment during the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham two and a half years ago.
In a statement, Radrizzani voiced his support for head coach Garry Monk, whose side are fifth in the Championship table, and said he was making a “a long-term commitment to Leeds United”.
No further details of his deal have been announced and Leeds are yet to say what position he will take up at Elland Road.
Radrizzani said: “I am delighted and proud to have acquired a 50 per cent stake in such a prestigious football club as Leeds United. I am excited by the challenge ahead and I will work alongside Massimo and everybody at the club to make Leeds United as successful as possible.
“I am fully aware of the great heritage and traditions of Leeds United and I will endeavour to be a fitting custodian on behalf of the many thousands of Leeds supporters, who are the lifeblood of the club.
“I am making a long-term commitment to Leeds United and will work to bring stability through ongoing investment. I aim to bring sustainable growth. I won’t do anything that will put the club’s future at risk.
“Through working in the sports industry for many years, I have developed a great passion for the English game and I am honoured to have become joint owner of one of the country’s biggest clubs.
“I am very impressed with the job Garry Monk has done this season and I will do all I can to support him and the team moving forward.
“The responsibility is on myself, Massimo and the executive management at the Club to work together over the coming months to provide the best platform and environment for Garry and the team to achieve success.
“My immediate priorities over the coming weeks are to meet with Garry and the team; the Club staff at Elland Road and Thorp Arch; supporters’ representatives; former players and media.”
Cellino added: “I have worked hard for the past three years for Leeds United, we are a massive club, and I feel the only way we can get better is for me to bring in a new partner.
“Andrea is young and brings a new energy with him, as well as having a good experience in the football media business, which is the future for all clubs.
“I feel that bringing Andrea in as a 50% shareholder to work with me is the best choice we could have made. We will continue building a strong and healthy football club for the future.”
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