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Southampton, a new soccer target

China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-04 07:17

Southampton, a new soccer target

A young fan walks to the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Burnley at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, on Oct 16. Provided to China Daily

Southampton, the Premier League football club based on the south coast of England, is in exclusive talks to be taken over by Lander Sports Development Co of China, according to people familiar with the situation.

Katharina Liebherr, the club's Swiss owner, has been engaged in the talks for several weeks, said the people, who declined to be identified because an agreement has yet to be completed. The price could be as much as 200 million pounds ($246.2 million), they said.

The talks come amid a surge of investment in soccer by Chinese companies, spurred by President Xi Jinping's stated desire to turn the nation into a force in the sport. A consortium led by Hong Kong-based GreaterChina Professional Services Ltd on Wednesday outlined its plans for another Premier League club, Hull City, if it succeeds with a takeover bid.

A Southampton takeover would be the most significant Chinese acquisition in English soccer to date, following deals in which West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City were sold to Chinese investors.


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