Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has sold the club to the Chinese Recon Group owned by Tony Jiantong Xia, who will become its new chairman pending Premier League and Football League approval.
Lerner had made no secret of his desire to sell and current chairman Steve Hollis flew to China to complete the deal as soon as Villa’s dismal top-flight campaign was complete.
A club statement read: “Aston Villa Football Club is pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed today for the sale of 100% 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.
“Once those approvals have been granted and the new board members approved under the fit & proper rules of both leagues, Dr Xia will become Chairman of Aston Villa.
“The club will announce the appointment of a new manager shortly.”
The statement continued: “Randy Lerner has sought the right new owner for Aston Villa who would take great care of the Club and restore its fortunes. He believes that Tony Xia is an excellent choice.
“Recon Group is Dr Xia’s privately owned holding company that owns the controlling interest in five publicly-listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges and many other private companies employing 35,000 people in 75 countries.
“Dr Xia played football as a striker until he finished at college and football has remained his passion.
“Dr Xia decided to buy an iconic football Club in England as the cornerstone of his Sports, Leisure and Tourism Division.
“He became a fan of Aston Villa many years ago and is delighted at the opportunity to become the new owner.
“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.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved