- New owners could be in place within a week
- Deal includes ownership of Elland Road
- Original agreement between Leeds and 49ers valued club at more than UK£400m before relegation
The investment arm of the National Football League’s (NFL) San Francisco 49ers initially took a 15 per cent stake in Leeds in 2018 for a reported sum of UK£10 million (US$12.4 million) before gradually increasing its shareholding in the team, which now stands at 44 per cent.
49ers Enterprises already had the option to take control of Leeds from Andrea Radrizzani’s Aser Ventures and was reportedly trying to complete a takeover of the Yorkshire outfit during the 2022/23 season.
However, the club’s eventual relegation from the Premier League to the second-tier Championship complicated matters. 49ers Enterprises’ original deal, which purportedly valued Leeds at more than UK£400 million (US$497 million), was contingent on the club staying in the top flight.
The Telegraph reports that a breakthrough in talks was made at the start of the week, with negotiations taking place on a lower price, and the takeover could be confirmed before the weekend. According to the Daily Mail, the latest deal values Leeds at around UK£170 million (US$211 million) and includes ownership of Elland Road stadium.
Radrizzani has owned Leeds since 2017, during which the club was promoted back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence. The team spent three seasons in the top tier before falling back into the Championship on the last day of the 2022/23 campaign.
Last week saw a consortium that included Radrizzani complete its takeover of Italian soccer outfit Sampdoria who, like Leeds, also tumbled into their domestic second division this season. The deal incurred the wrath of Leeds fans following a report by The Athletic stating that Radrizzani had offered to use the club’s Elland Road stadium as collateral when securing a UK£26 million (US$32.2 million) bank loan to buy Sampdoria.
The Athletic said it was not known whether Elland Road, which was bought by Radrizzani shortly after he became owner of Leeds, was included in the final deal, or if Aser Ventures and partner Gestio Capital were able to secure the loan via a different method.