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West Brom Bought By Chinese Investment Group

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace has sold the club to a Chinese investment group, subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Premier League.
Peace is to resign as chairman after 14 years in the post, with former Blackburn chairman John Williams taking over.

The Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited group is headed by entrepreneur Guochuan Lai, with the deal initially agreed on June 24. Reviews by the FCA and Premier League are currently under way.

No price has been announced but Peace put the club on the market over a year ago and was initially looking for over £150m.

"I believe this deal will enable Albion to build on the strong, sustainable foundations that have been the cornerstone of the club’s progress," he told the club’s official website.

"I have been chairman for 14 years and I am obviously pleased that in that time we have become an established top-flight club. Now, having spent time with Guochuan, I believe he is the right man to take Albion forward."

Guochuan Lai built his career helping by growing Palm Eco-Town Development Company Limited from a plant nursery business into China’s largest landscape design and construction company. It is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as being worth £1.8billion.

In a statement, Guochuan Lai said: "I am excited and privileged to have the chance to become the new owner of this great club.
"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."

John Williams has promised the priority remains bringing in new players, with Albion having pulled out of a £15m deal for West Ham’s Diafra Sakho on Thursday because of concerns over his fitness.
"The immediate focus is on our activity in the transfer window; quite frankly, everything else is peripheral," he said.

"(Manager) Tony Pulis and (technical director) Nick Hammond have told the board we are two or three players short, realistic targets have been identified and there are funds available. We need to get them over the line to ensure Tony has a competitive squad for what is going to be a challenging and demanding campaign."

If the deal goes through, the Baggies will become the third Midlands club to have Chinese investment this summer after Championship sides Wolves and Aston Villa were sold.


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