Southampton 'edging closer to £100m takeover by Serbian billionaire'

Southampton ‘edging closer to £100m takeover by Serbian TV magnate Dragan Solak… with billionaire businessman in discussions to take control of club from Gao Jisheng’

  • Southampton are being linked with a £100m takeover by Serbian Dragan Solak
  • Reports claim the TV magnate is in discussions to buy 80 per cent of the club
  • Current majority shareholder Gao Jisheng is said to be keen to sell his stake
  • talkSPORT claim Saints will become part of a multi-club group like Red Bull

Southampton are reportedly closing in on a £100million takeover, with little-known Serbian businessman Dragan Solak in discussions to buy the club from Gao Jisheng.

Sky News journalist Mark Kleinman is reporting that the Premier League side are ‘close to being sold’ to the founder of cable TV operator United Group.

It was reported last month that two interested parties were in advanced discussions with Jisheng over his 80 per cent stake in the club, but it now appears Solak has moved ahead of his rivals in the bidding.

United Group founder Dragan Solak is reportedly closing in on a deal to buy Southampton for around £100million

The Athletic claim that manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and his Southampton players have already been informed of the deal, with it now close to completion. 

It has also been claimed, by talkSPORT, that the deal will see Southampton become part of a multi-club group, similar to the Red Bull family with the likes of RB Leipzig and New York Red Bulls among others. 

Solak founded United Group in 2000, and has overseen the growth of the company into a multi-national business with more than 40 million users across eight territories.

According to the company’s website, they generate more than £1.7billion annually, and it has been reported that Solak himself has a net worth of more than £1bn.

Serbian news website Kurir report that Solak has tried to keep himself out of the spotlight in recent years, and that he has ‘gone virtually unnoticed’ while accumulating his colossal wealth.

Current Southampton majority shareholder Jisheng bought his 80 per cent stake back in 2017, but recent reports claimed he was looking to sell.   

It has been reported that the Chinese businessman spent around £210m acquiring his stake in the club, making the purchase from Katharina Liebherr, who inherited control of the club from her late father Markus in 2010.

The Liebherrs still own a 20 per cent stake in the club after buying them in 2009 when they were in a dire financial situation.

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