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Report: 49ers Enterprises plans full Leeds United takeover by 2024

San Francisco 49ers’ investment arm has option to take 100% control for UK£400m.

7 December 2021 Ed Dixon

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  • Buyout of Premier League club ‘likely to come sooner’, according to The Athletic
  • Deal would include Elland Road stadium
  • 49ers Enterprises initially took 15% stake in Leeds back in 2018

English top-flight soccer club Leeds United could soon be under the majority ownership of 49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of the National Football League’s (NFL) San Francisco 49ers, according to The Athletic.

49ers Enterprises initially took a 15 per cent equity stake in Leeds for a reported UK£10 million (US$13.3 million) back in 2018 and have steadily upped their holding since then. Most recently, November saw the firm increase its stake in the Premier League team from 37 per cent to 44 per cent.

Now, The Athletic reports that 49ers Enterprises has a deal in place to take control of Leeds for more than UK£400 million (US$531 million), though it could be worth as much as UK£475 million (US$631 million).

The option for 49ers Enterprises to take 100 per cent control of the Yorkshire outfit, including the club’s Elland Road stadium, will reportedly pass by January 2024.

Though January 2024 has been set as the deadline for the acquisition, The Athletic reports that a buyout is ‘likely to come sooner’.

A fixed purchase of more than UK£400 million was reportedly struck during negotiations back in January, which saw 49ers Enterprises take its stake in Leeds up to 37 per cent.

The overall cost of acquiring 100 per cent of Leeds’ shares includes the money already paid by 49ers Enterprises for its existing stake, meaning the firm would reportedly have more than UK£200 million (US$266 million) still to pay.

Currently, Aser Ventures, the holding company owned and chaired by Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani, holds the remaining 56 per cent of Leeds. Radrizzani, who took full control of the club in 2017, may retain a small minority stake when control of the club changes hands, the report adds.

In addition, according to The Athletic, if Aser was to buy another soccer club before January 2024, the deal with 49ers Enterprises would be voided.

A takeover would see Leeds join a growing list of American-run clubs in the Premier League. Currently, the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley are all under majority control from owners based in the US.

Following The Athletic’s report, Radrizzani took to Twitter, where he suggested a full takeover of Leeds by 49ers Enterprises was not imminent.

The 47-year-old said that Aser has the option to ‘void the call’ and the main focus for both parties was to continue working together to grow the club.

‘Anything can happen between now and two years’ time,’ Radrizzani added.

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