Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani has agreed a deal to sell his controlling stake in the club to co-owners 49ers Enterprises.
As a result the American investment group, owner of NFL franchise the San Francisco 49ers and a minority shareholder in Leeds since 2018, will take full ownership.
“Leeds United can confirm an agreement has been reached between Aser Ventures and 49ers Enterprises for the purchase of the club,” said a statement.
Leeds United can confirm an agreement has been reached between Aser Ventures and 49ers Enterprises for the purchase of the club
— Leeds United (@LUFC) June 9, 2023Advertisement
“Both parties continue to work through the details, and further updates will be provided soon.
“All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League.”
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 £400million, 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.
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.
Leeds escaped relegation on the final day of the 2021-22 season under Bielsa’s successor Jesse Marsch and Radrizzani promised that 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.