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Sport Republic, backed by Serbian football billionaire, buys Southampton


Investment firm Sport Republic, backed by Serbian billionaire Dragan Solak, has finalized the Southampton takeover by taking an 80% stake in the club, the Premier League announced on Tuesday.

Solak, owner of United Group, a telecommunications company, acquired the club in a deal worth £ 100million ($ 136million) from Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng, who bought its 80% stake in August 2017. “Over the past two years, together with our club shareholders, we have been looking for the right partner to move the club forward. Today we have found the perfect solution for our club, ”said Martin Semmens, CEO of Southampton.

“Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced in the world of elite professional sport. This combination is very difficult to find, and we are delighted to have reached an agreement that secures our future in the short and long term. Katharina Liebherr, who inherited the Saints from her late father Markus in 2010 when they were in the League One third division, will continue to retain the remaining 20%.

Sport Republic is a London based company in the sports and entertainment industry with Solak as the lead investor. The company’s portfolio includes Tonsser, a soccer app designed for young players to improve their performance. “Southampton has so many qualities that we look for in a great sports organization. They have a great management team, great talent development, talented teams playing great football and a dedicated fan base,” said Solak.

The deal is the third major investment in a Premier League club in months after Czech billionaire investor Daniel Kretinsky acquired a 27% stake in https://www.reuters.com/article/soccer-england- whu-investment-idINL8N2S164V West Ham United in November and a Saudi-backed consortium purchased https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/saudi-arabia-led-consortium-completes-takeover-newcastle-united -2021-10-07 Newcastle United in October. Southampton are 14th in the league with 21 points in 19 games. They travel to Second Division Swansea City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. ($ 1 = 0.7380 pounds)

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