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The takeover of Leeds United by 49ers Enterprises has been completed after the English Football League formally approved the £170m ownership change of the Yorkshire-based outfit.
The club’s new stewards, which are the investment arm of NFL giants the San Francisco 49ers, purchased a 15% stake in Leeds back in 2018 and increased their holding even further to 44% in 2021.
Now, 49ers Enterprises has assumed total control of the club having announced the purchase of Andrea Radrizzani’s shares. Leeds, who were relegated from the Premier League back to the Championship in May, will hope that new owners and fresh investment will help to catapult them back to the top tier at the first time of asking.
A new era begins at Leeds
In a statement released this week, new Leeds chairman Paraag Marathe spoke about new beginnings at Elland Road, saying:
“This transition is a necessary reset to chart a new course for the club. “This is an important moment for Leeds United and we are already hard at work. We are confident Leeds will field a competitive squad to contend for promotion next season.”
Existing chief executive Angus Kinnear, who has kept his job through the ownership transition said:
“49ers Enterprises is bringing fresh leadership, management and a commitment to investment, which I’m confident will meet our ambition to compete for promotion and remain in the top flight as an established Premier League Club.
“I know Paraag, Rudy and 49ers Enterprises will keep supporters central to their plans during their custodianship and I am excited to work in realising the true potential of this great club.”
Outgoing owner, Andrea Radrizzani’s also added a parting message to the Leeds fans following his departure:
“It has been an honour to guide Leeds United over the last six years and to spend so much time with the best fanbase in the world”
“49ers Enterprises have been fantastic partners for years and I’m confident they will take Leeds to the next level.”
🗣️ “It didn’t end the way I wished…”
Former Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani speaks following the sale of the club to 49ers Enterprise ⚽🤝 pic.twitter.com/uBW1Bj6yG3
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 18, 2023
How wealthy are 49ers Enterprises?
Leeds supporters will understandably be eager to see what kind of financial muscle their new owners wield in this summer’s transfer market, and according to several sources, the US-based investment firm have plenty of clout and cash.
According to Forbes, 49ers Enterprises are worth an eye-watering $5.97 billion (£4.79bn) and they rank them as the 11th-richest US sporting entity.
As of January this year, Formula 1 owners Liberty Media were considered the wealthiest sports firm on the list with a $20 billion valuation, while Arsenal’s owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment were listed second in the rundown with a value of approximately $12.75 billion.
Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are reportedly valued at $10.4 billion, while Manchester United’s unpopular owners the Glazer Family come in at $7.54 billion, according to Forbes.
49ers Enterprises will have plenty to work with once they get their feet under the table at Elland Road. According to Deloitte, Leeds were one of the top-earning clubs in the world in 2021/22, with their £200m+ revenues placing them in the top 20 richest clubs on the planet.
Naturally, those cash streams will dry up considerably now that Leeds are back in the second tier, however, immediate promotion would allow the club to tap back into the Premier League’s riches.
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