Sale agreed of Premier League club Hull City to Chinese owners
Updated: 2016-08-25 20:28
By Angus McNeice in London(chinadaily.com.cn)
Hull City's Robert Snodgrass celebrates scoring their second goal against Leicester City during their English Premier League game at the The Kingston Communications Stadium, Aug 13, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
Hull City's owners agreed the sale of English club Hull City to Chinese investors, and the takeover will be official if and when the Premier League signs off on the deal.
It was confirmed to China Daily that the Premier League has begun its due diligence into the acquisition and is conducting its standard tests for owners and directors. Prospective owners Dai Xiu Li and Dai Yongge must give evidence of funds and pass a series of background checks. This may take some time due to the Dais' broad and complex business portfolios, according to the Hull Daily Mail.
There is no deadline to the process and the official takeover is unlikely to occur before the summer transfer window closes on August 31, meaning fans will have to wait until January to see the Chinese siblings make moves in the player transfer market.
Dai Xiu Li and Dai Yongge made their money converting old bomb shelters in China into shopping centers in the 1990s, and own malls all over the country. Dai Xiu Li has appeared on Forbes' billionaire list and presides over an estimated £700 million fortune, having handed over a 48 percent stake — worth £246 million — in her company Renhe Commercial Holdings to brother Dai Yongge in 2014.
The Chinese pair are understood to have moved on Hull City relatively late this summer after a sale from current owner, Egyptian-born British businessman Assem Allam, to American investors was not completed. Dai Xiu Li is a British resident who owns a house in London and is said to have become a fan of football after taking her son to Premier League matches. The Dais own Chinese club Beijing Renhe.
Hull City does not have a high profile in China — the club has never won a major trophy and has alternated between the Premier League and the second tier of English football, known as the championship, since Allam took control 2010. However, Premiership clubs have become increasingly attractive to foreign investors following the depreciation of the pound and since the league scored a massive financial windfall in last year's record £5.1 billion broadcast rights venture with BT Sport and Sky Sports.
The Premier League has paid out an average of £80 million pounds to teams at the end of the last few seasons, and that figure is expected to soar to £120 million pounds for the 2016-17 season following the TV deal.
Chinese companies Everbright, Dalian Wanda and Fosun have all reportedly expressed interest in investing in Liverpool FC over the summer. American owners Fenway Sports Group have said the club is not for sale, though they would consider selling a minority stake.
West Bromwich Albion became the first Premiership side to be acquired by Chinese owners when it announced this month that Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Ltd, a consortium headed by Lai Guochuan, had bought a controlling stake. In late 2015, Chinese consortium China Media Capital purchased a 13 percent share in City Football Group that controls Manchester City.
To contact the reporter: firstname.lastname@example.org