West Bromwich Albion has announced that owner and chairman Jeremy Peace has sold the club to Chinese investors led by Guochuan Lai.
The Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited group will take ownership of the club pending FA and Premier League review. There’s no official price for what the club sold for, but when Peace initially put the club up for sale he wanted £150 million.
Lai said in a statement on WBA’s official website that he’s “excited and privileged to have the chance to become the new owner of this great Club. We have a strong squad, loyal fans and a unique culture. My immediate priorities will be to maintain the Club’s stable structure, respecting its well-run nature and its heritage. I have no intention of changing the Club’s ethos.
“There are already strong links between China and West Bromwich Albion, which began with an historic tour to China in May 1978 when the Club accepted an invitation from the Chinese Government and became the first English club to tour China in modern history.
“I am proud that I will be the first mainland-Chinese owner of a Premier League club. This historic deal will result in a rapid and significant increase in interest in the Club in China, which should lead to attractive commercial opportunities. Meanwhile the Club will be uniquely positioned to take its well-regarded training system to China, helping to identify and develop more talented young players in the future.
“I would like to thank Jeremy Peace as he hands over a Club in great shape. That legacy, together with the commitment of John Williams and the board, Tony Pulis, the players and staff, will ensure that everyone involved with West Bromwich Albion has many reasons to celebrate in years to come.”