English second tier soccer outfit Aston Villa are set to secure “significant investment” from NSWE, a company controlled by billionaires Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, after owner Dr Tony Xia agreed a new co-ownership model.
According to a press release from the Championship club, Xia has been engaged in talks with the Egyptian group, eventually agreeing a deal that sees him remain on the board and become co-chairman.
Since Aston Villa lost the Championship playoff final against Fulham in May, Xia has been seeking investment. The club missed a UK£4 million (UK£5.2 million) payment to HMRC and have relied on their owner to cover financial shortfalls, which reached a reported UK£40 million (UK£52 million). In June the club also suspended chief executive Keith Wyness, although that was apparently unrelated to the missing tax payments.
Sawiris is worth a reported US$6.7 billion, according to Forbes. His co-investor, Edens, has experience in sport, as he co-owns National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise the Milwaukee Bucks.
Xia said: “I am extremely pleased to have formed a strategic partnership with Nassef and Wes. We have a common goal of delivering future success for Aston Villa and I look forward to working together to achieve this aim.
“To have come so close to achieving promotion last season was a humbling experience. In finding such strong partners as Nassef and Wes we’re gearing up to fight again and bring back the success that this club deserves and we all so want to provide it with.
“The future is exciting on a number of fronts and I look forward to exploring further business collaborations.”
Sawiris and Edens said: “We believe that together we bring business and sports experience that will help strengthen the club to ensure Aston Villa can return to its rightful place in the upper echelons of English football.
“Our goal is to bring sustainable success to the club, building on its rich history while respecting its loyal fan base and unique culture. We understand that we are stewards of Aston Villa on behalf of the fans and we take that responsibility seriously.”