Takeover ends Chinese control of Southampton football club

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LONDON, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Premier League club Southampton on Tuesday confirmed they have been taken over by Serbian born TV mogul, Dragon Solak, in a deal that sees a London-based investment firm called Sport Republic take a controlling stake in the club.

The move ends the ownership of Chinese businessman, Gao Jisheng, who purchased an 80 percent stake in the club four years ago.

Southampton confirmed the move in a statement on their official website, which reads: "Southampton Football Club can today confirm that Sport Republic has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake in Southampton Football Club."

"Sport Republic is an investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. They have purchased the shareholding of the club held by Mr Gao and will work in partnership with Katharina Liebherr who retains her minority shareholding."

"Everyone within the Southampton community would like to wish Mr Gao and his family well for their future," the statement said.

Solak explained that his "partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry."

"Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organization. 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 organization we plan to build."

The club currently sits 14th in the Premier League, with a 10-point cushion over the relegation zone. Enditem

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