Barnsley look poised for hook-up with OGC Nice’s Chinese owners

August 22 – The sale of English Championship club Barnsley to Chinese businessman Chien Lee and his consortium will take at least another three weeks.

Chien Lee had previously been in the running to buy Hull City but that deal fell through and Hull fell out the Premier League.

Instead in June 2016 Chien Lee, founder and CEO of NewCity Capital, and his consortium of investors that includes Alex Zheng, president of hotels group Plateno, and US businessmen Paul Conway of the Pacific Media Group, acquired 80% of OGC Nice, with club president Jean-Pierre Rivere retaining 20%.

That deal has proved a great success with OGC Nice having qualified for this season’s Champions League and seeing stars including Mario Balotelli and Wesley Sneijder arrive at the club.

Now he has turned his investment attention back to England and his consortium are keen to buy into what they see as the opportunity of English club football.

Barnsley were one of the fairy tale English club football stories when they broke into the Premier League for one season in 1996/97. However, two relegations and subsequent financial administration hit the club before being rescued by current owner Patrick Cryne in 2004. Cryne is expected to retain some shareholding in any sale.

Now back in the Championship, Barnsley finished mid-table last season and could provide the opportunity at the right price Lee’s group is looking for.

Barnsley is chaired by sports business veteran and leading sports lawyer Maurice Watkins.

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