West Bromwich Albion agree '£60m takeover' deal as Lai reign draws to a close

There was some heartening news for West Bromwich Albion fans as the Championship club agrees a takeover deal.
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Guochuan Lai's troubled time as West Bromwich Albion owner is drawing to a close after a reported £60m takeover deal was agreed with Florida-based entrepreneur Shilen Patel and his father.

Thursday brought a wave of relief and delight for Baggies supporters after an official club statement revealed an agreement had been reached and confirming the EFL have already ratified the deal. There is an expectation the new owners will complete the formalities of the takeover next week and bring an end to Lai's eight-year ownership at The Hawthorns.

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A club statement read: “Bilkul Football WBA, LLC – a company ultimately owned by Florida-based entrepreneur Shilen Patel and his father Dr Kiran C. Patel – has reached an agreement to acquire an 87.8 per cent shareholding in West Bromwich Albion Group Limited, the parent company of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. The takeover has been approved by the EFL, with exchange and completion to take place next week.”

Shilen Patel added: “I am thrilled and grateful to have reached an agreement to become the custodian of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. The club’s exceptional history, support, and potential set it apart even here in the cradle of football. My goal is to help the club achieve a future worthy of its history as a pioneering top-flight club that marshals the pride and passion that have defined the Albion for generations. I am excited to get started at The Hawthorns and look forward to the deal completing next week.”

After taking control at the Hawthorns in July 2016, Lai's ownership has seen the Baggies suffer two relegations from the Premier League, as well as earning promotion back into the top tier during the 2019/20 season. However, the last two years have been littered with questionable decisions behind the scenes as the club's financial situation came under increased scrutiny with controversial loans involving Wisdom Smart Corporation, Warmfront Holdings and MSD Holdings all raising the anger of Baggies supporters.

That led to high-profile protests against the owner from the Baggies faithful with a number of protests taking place during games at the Hawthorns. The Action For Albion supporters group were successful in raising awareness of the situation and they have already signalled their delight over the impending takeover by Patel, who has owned a minority stake in Serie A side Bologna since 2014.

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Speaking via their social media outlets, the group said: "The nightmare is over. A new dawn has begun. Can we be the first to welcome Mr Patel and Bilkul Football to the Albion family. Thanks to everyone for your support and commitment. More to follow."

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