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Leeds United: 49ers Enterprises complete takeover from Andrea Radrizzani

49ers Enterprises already owned 44 per cent of Leeds, but have now agreed a deal to purchase the remaining 56 per cent stake from Andrea Radrizzani; Leeds will play in the Sky Bet Championship in 2023/24 after relegation from the Premier League

Paraag Marathe will be the new Leeds chairman

Leeds United have announced the EFL has approved the sale of the club to American investment group 49ers Enterprises.

Andrea Radrizzani, chairman and majority shareholder since 2017, agreed to sell his controlling stake last month, with the deal valuing the club at around £170m.

49ers Enterprises, which owns NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers, has steadily increased its stake in Leeds since becoming a minority shareholder in 2018.

Paraag Marathe, previously vice chairman, will take over as chairman. Chief executive Angus Kinnear will remain in his current position and Rudy Cline-Thomas, founder and managing partner of venture capital firm MASTRY, will join the board as co-owner and vice chairman.

"This is an important moment for Leeds United and we are already hard at work," Marathe said. "This transition is a necessary reset to chart a new course for the Club.

"We have already appointed a highly-respected First Team Manager with a track record of success, and we are confident Leeds will field a competitive squad to contend for promotion next season. It's a privilege to carry this torch as I know we have a responsibility to ensure this Club makes our staff, players, supporters, and the Leeds and Yorkshire communities proud."

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Jordan Spieth has revealed that Rickie Fowler pulled out of the 49ers group about to takeover Leeds United, subject to EFL checks. Spieth and Justin Thomas purchased shares in the 49ers group and he is excited about the future of the club

The Enterprises is comprised around 10 major investors, plus a number with smaller individual stakes including three-time major-winning golfer Jordan Spieth and two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas. Those minor investors will not sit on the club's board.

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49ers Enterprises increased its stake in Leeds to 44 per cent in 2021 with the option of buying Radrizzani's remaining 56 per cent before January 2024.

The Americans had been keen to push through a full takeover this summer but that agreement, which had valued Leeds at around £400m, was contingent on the club remaining in the Premier League.

Leeds' relegation last month forced both parties back into intense negotiations and a valuation of close to £170m has been agreed.

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Newly-appointed Leeds United manager Daniel Farke wants to reset the mentality at the club and suggests that his side will need to make winning games a 'habit'

The deal marks the end of Radrizzani's six-year ownership of Leeds. He completed a full takeover from fellow Italian Massimo Cellino in 2017 and initially proved hugely popular.

Radrizzani bought back Elland Road stadium, which had been in private ownership since 2004, and brought in fresh investment when 49ers Enterprises purchased its first 10 per cent stake in 2018.

The appointment of Marcelo Bielsa soon after proved a masterstroke as Leeds won promotion back to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.

49ers Enterprises has steadily increased its stake, while Radrizzani's relationship with the Leeds fanbase began to sour when Bielsa was sacked in February 2022.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Leeds' 4-1 loss to Tottenham which saw them relegated from the Premier League

Leeds escaped relegation on the final day of the 2021-22 season under Bielsa's successor Jesse Marsch and Radrizzani promised the club would not be involved in another survival fight.

But results this past season failed to improve and after Marsch was sacked in February, his replacement Javi Gracia and then Sam Allardyce, appointed with four games remaining, failed to halt the slide.

When relegation was confirmed with a final-day defeat to Tottenham, Radrizzani was absent from Elland Road, opting instead to remain in Italy to finalise his takeover of Sampdoria.

He later admitted Leeds' board had made mistakes and apologised for the club's relegation in a personal statement posted on social media.

But after it emerged he had offered to use Elland Road as collateral when securing a £26m bank loan to buy Sampdoria - one of his companies and not Leeds owned the stadium - his legacy was further tainted.

Analysis: Recruitment drive starts now after 49ers complete takeover

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Andrea Radrizzani sits down with Sky Sports to talk through his time at Elland Road after he completed the sale of his majority share in the club to the 49ers Enterprises

Sky Sports News reporter Tim Thornton:

"The 49ers Enterprises have been involved with Leeds for five years now but now, with full control, it means they can get to work.

"That has been going on already over the past few weeks with the appointment of Daniel Farke, but now this has been completed, recruitment can start and there will be a lot of changes to that department - a whole restructure of that.

"We're expecting Gretar Steinsson to come in, the former performance director at Tottenham, to work alongside Nicky Hammond who has been heading up recruitment over the summer.

"We're expecting signings to begin coming in - Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea, that deal could be concluded later today.

"It's an exciting path for the club, and now it's about getting things into the right order to get the club back on track into the Premier League.

"Leeds fans will forever be grateful for Radrizzani bringing in Bielsa and the style of football and success that followed.

"He deserves credit for that, when he came in the club looked very different to what it does now and he made a lot of positive changes here, but latterly it hasn't gone well.

"There's been criticism around recruitment, Victor Orta, and some of the decisions which have been made over the last 12 months haven't worked out and it has tainted his time at Leeds.

"It could be a scenario where in a few years' time fans look back on his time and there'll be a little bit of affection, but as things stand now he hasn't left as the most popular owner."

Radrizzani: 'My best wasn't good enough' after manager and transfer mistakes

As he said goodbye to Leeds, outgoing owner Radrizzani agreed to speak to Sky Sports News in an exclusive interview about his time at Elland Road, covering topics including:

  • His best decision of appointing Marcelo Bielsa - and the difficulty of sacking him
  • Why Jesse Marsch was brought in to play in the same style as Bielsa - and how it never happened
  • Why keeping Marsch until after the World Cup in Qatar was a huge mistake
  • How Leeds should have been more careful with signings and bought more experienced players
  • Why Sam Allardyce could have kept Leeds up with more time
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