London (AFP) – A consortium headed by American businessmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan completed its takeover of Swansea, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.
Levien, who is managing general owner of MLS side DC United, and Kaplan, executive vice-chairman of NBA franchise the Memphis Grizzlies, are believed along with their consortium to have bought a 60% stake at a reported cost of £110million (132m euros, $145m) in the only Premier League club based in Wales.
Levien, who also works as an advisor to Inter Milan majority owner and president Erick Thohir, and Kaplan issued a statement explaining why they had chosen Swansea, who under Italian manager Francesco Guidolin finished 12th last season after flirting with relegation.
“We were attracted to the team’s distinctive style of play and we loved the intensity of the relationship between the fans and the football team,” read their statement on the club website.
“Backed by the Supporters’ Trust, no other team’s support base is as strong as Swansea’s.
“This historic and powerful relationship between the fans and the club is the single most important answer to the question, ‘Why Swansea City?’
“It’s a unique story of a club rescued by a combination of mainly local businessmen and a group of fans who decided they couldn’t stand by and let something they love die.”
Levien and Kaplan pledged to keep the ticket prices at the same level for the forseeable future and not to alienate the local community.
The move is the latest in a spate of foreign investment in the lucrative English top flight with the biggest success story involving Leicester City.
Thailand’s shopping magnate Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha paid £39m ($60m) for the club in 2010, overseeing the greatest rags to riches story in football when his 5,000-1 shots won the Premier League title last season.
American interest in the Premier League is already well established, with Stanley Kroenke the largest stakeholder at Arsenal, John Henry owning Liverpool and the Glazer Family well embedded at Manchester United.
Sunderland meanwhile are in the hands of Irish-American businessman Ellis Short.
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