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Southampton’s owner and Gao Family enter Chinese ‘Partnership’

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Buying a 80% stake in a football club sounds like a takeover to me...

Olympics Previews - Day -2 Photo by China Photos/Getty Images

Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr has announced the club will enter into a partnership with the Gao Family.

The partnership, however, will be a personal investment from China—which has seen the Gao family purchase a reported 80% stake in the club—and not through Lander Sports as first thought.

Headed up by businessman Gao Jisheng, it is thought the 80% stake in Southampton Football Club cost him close to £210million.

“Following extensive and fruitful work, we are entering into a partnership with the Gao family and I am excited about what we will achieve together,” Liebherr said in a statement.

“Today is the start of a new and exciting chapter for our club. Mr Jisheng Gal and his daughter, Mrs Nelly Gal, with whom I have built a close relationship, share our values and ambitions.”

Along with sharing ambitions with Liebherr, it is thought the Gao family also share the trust in Saints chairman Ralph Krueger, so no major structural changes are expected.

Liebherr inherited Southampton once her father, Markus, passed away in 2010 shortly after Saints’ Johnston’s Paint Trophy triumph over Carlisle. Liebherr then oversaw two consecutive promotions as Southampton returned to the Premier League in 2012.