The EFL finally approves the takeover of Leeds United by 49ers Enterprises, with Michael Phelps among a host of American sports stars set to become minority investors.
- 49ers Enterprises has approval to complete its entire purchase of Leeds United
- Michael Phelps, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are among the minority investors
- The American investment group also controls the NFL team San Francisco 49ers
The takeover of Leeds United by 49ers Enterprises has finally been cleared by the EFL, with Olympic legend Michael Phelps becoming a minority investor.
More than five weeks after announcing that Andrea Radrizzani had reached an agreement to sell his majority stake to the Americans, the club confirmed on Monday night that the acquisition has now been officially completed.
And it became known that the most successful Olympian of all time, American swimmer Phelps, will have a share in Daniel Farke’s Championship team, along with golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas and other stars of American football, basketball and ice Hockey.
Paraag Marathe, the new Leeds chairman and chairman of 49ers Enterprises, said: ‘This is an important time for Leeds United and we are hard at work already.
This transition is a necessary reset to chart a new course for the club. We have already appointed a highly respected manager with a track record of success, and we are confident that Leeds will field a competitive team to fight for promotion next season.
Leeds confirmed that 49ers Enterprises have approval to complete their purchase of the club
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, will be among the club’s minority owners
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are involved, as are NFL, basketball and ice hockey stars.
“It is a privilege to carry this torch as I know we have a responsibility to ensure this club does our staff, players, supporters and the communities of Leeds and Yorkshire proud.”
Rudy Cline-Thomas, a former basketball agent and founder of the investment platform Mastry, joined Leeds as co-owner and vice-chairman.
“With my family coming from Leeds, it’s an honor to be able to cheer on this amazing community,” he said. ‘This is more than an opportunity, it is a personal mission.
“The opportunity to reinvigorate Leeds’ cherished culture, create a platform that attracts the world’s best players and build a truly global brand that celebrates diversity is a prospect that excites me.”
The investment arm of the NFL franchise San Francisco 49ers already owned a 44% stake in Leeds
The 49ers, the investment arm of the NFL franchise’s San Francisco 49ers, already owned a 44 percent stake in Leeds, but have now bought the remaining 56 percent from Radrizzani.
Outgoing owner Radrizzani said: “It has been an honor to guide Leeds United over the last six years and to spend so much time with the best fans in the world.” 49ers Enterprises have been fantastic partners for years and I am confident they will take Leeds to the next level.”
Angus Kinnear will remain as Leeds’ chief executive and will lead day-to-day operations.
He added: “49ers Enterprises is bringing new leadership, management and a commitment to investment, which I am sure will deliver on our ambition to challenge for promotion and remain in the top flight as an established Premier League club.”