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Sky Sports Claim Saints Sale Talks Held Up By Corona Virus
Saturday, 2nd May 2020 10:53

Sky Sports have this morning claimed that talks regarding the sale of Southampton Football Club to an American company has been held up by the Corona Virus pandemic.

Sky had this to say this morning.

"An American-based company has held talks to buy Gao Jisheng's majority share of Southampton, but the coronavirus pandemic has held up discussions.

The group has shown interest in purchasing the Chinese businessman's 80 per cent controlling stake, which he put up for sale earlier this year.

They have been described to Sky Sports News as the only serious player in a potential takeover, following interest from more than two parties."

"However, it is understood those talks have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and a deal is not close to being agreed.

Previous owner Katharina Liebherr, who sits on the board and retains a 20 per cent stake, is said to have been actively involved in discussions."

The Swiss national sold her controlling stake in the Saints to Jisheng in 2017 for a reported sum of £210m, having inherited the club from her father Markus in 2010.

Jisheng now values this share at £250m, according to reports.

Last June, he told the Financial Times that there were "no problems" with his financial situation, amid reports his Lander Sports Group had suffered losses.

"I am not treating Southampton as a pig to be fattened and sold," he said. "I am treating it as a child.

"But my children must believe they cannot depend on the boss. I have said to Southampton: 'I am now your father. But I am putting you on the right track - you need to feed yourself'."

This will be good news to some Saints supporters who believe that Gao is the devil incarnate, but that is unfair in reality his only crime has been to not pump multi millions into the club as some think all owners should do.

What he has done though is stabilise the club after a period where we appeared to lose our way in transfer dealings etc, whether these rumours have any substance or ever happen is something that we will find out going forward, but if Gao does sell and we are in the Premier League then he has done us no harm at all.

He took over at a difficult time when Claude Puel had been sacked for a season we would sell our right arms for now and with Les Reed as director of football we appointed Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes neither of which was right for the club.

Katharina Liebherr is stated as being involved and that is good, she may not have the appetite for spending money on the club but she seems determined to protect her Father's legacy.

Photo: Action Images



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underweststand added 15:22 - May 2
for anyone " buying" a Premier League club, they surely understand they will rarely see a return of investment in the short term, and for many it's not a good long term bet either.
£100 million+ a year from TV sponsors , and perhaps that much again in good transfer deals, (if you're lucky) but salaries will eat up 70% of income, and so this is their hobby ....paid for with last week's lunch money. The deal maybe good for their ego's but it's hardly a good investment. Of course the Big Six have owners who are OK with spending £ 100 million a year on new players, but for the most part - it just looks like a good way to launder big money.

I hope Katarina can oversee a good deal from Gao's buyer and maybe we can get some genuine football people into the Boardroom. The only thing one can do with BIG money - is spend it, which hasn't been a problem (until now) for the oil magnates, although even they might feel the breeze if oil prices stay as low as they are at present.

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claus5 added 17:23 - May 2
Why do so many people believe that football clubs are only bought to launder money, and does anyone have proof this has been done?
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Ali_Diarea added 21:19 - May 2
underweststand - If he does sell for £250m then a £40m profit is a great return on his short term investment, even if he took no salary or dividends.

Claus5 - you raise a good point, I would say if he does sell, then the proof will be in whether the proceeds are paid into his bank account in China or his bank account in the Cayman Islands...
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underweststand added 15:06 - May 3
well clearly someone's not up to pace on this story.....

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