Sport Republic have acquired ownership of Southampton after completing a deal to gain a controlling stake in the Premier League club.
Sport Republic has completed a £100m takeover of the majority shareholder from Gao Jisheng whilst minority shareholder, Katharina Liebherr will remain involved with the Saints.
In a short statement paying tribute to Mr Gao, Southampton said: ‘Everyone within the Southampton community would like to wish Mr Gao and his family well for their future.’
Southampton CEO, Martin Semmens proceeded to issue a statement hailing Sport Republic as “the perfect solution,” which concluded a two-year search “for the right partner to take the club forward.”
Semmens calmed any potential fears amongst fans by iterating that “Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced within the world of elite professional sports.
“That combination is very hard to find, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement that secures our short and long-term future.”
Semmens also paid a “grateful” tribute to Mr Gao and Liebherr for their support which enabled a patient search which saw poorer alternatives snubbed, in order to ensure that fans, staff and local community are served by “the right partner” moving forward.
Explaining the future strategy of the club, Semmens said: “The strategy is to push forward with the plans we have had in place over the last two years, but with their support we can now do this with a renewed focus and speed.
“Continuity, stability, and clarity of the way forward are equally as important as the new initiatives and ideas we can now bring to the club.”
Semmens also pointed out that Sport Republic is about growth and gaining advantages to be successful, which fits Southampton’s vision in which they “have never wanted to buy success, but to earn it.”
Sport Republic Lead Investor, Dragan Šolak meanwhile stated that Southampton possess “so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation.
“It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football and a dedicated fan base.”
Sport Republic Chairman, Henrik Kraft added that the company will be “active and engaged” but have no intention of making any revolutionary changes, which marks a huge vote of confidence in manager, Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Kraft also confirmed that Semmens will continue to run the club on a day-to-day basis with Sport Republic working closely with him and the rest of the club to help promote growth in all areas on and off the pitch.
Southampton’s first match under new ownership will see them travel to Swansea on Saturday 8 January 2022 (5:30pm GMT) in Third Round of 2021-22 FA Cup live on BBC1 Wales, before hosting Brentford at St Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday 11 January (7:45pm) in a rearranged Premier League clash.