US investor Shilen Patel buys West Brom from Guochuan Lai for £20m plus £40m debt

February 16 – Shilen Patel is set to become West Bromwich Albion chairman after a deal to purchase an 87.8% stake in the Championship club was agreed, to the delight of Albion fans.

The takeover by Bilkul Football WBA, owned by Florida-based Patel and his father Kiran Patel was approved by the English Football League on Thursday, with exchange and completion to take place next week.

The Baggies, who are currently fifth in the second tier, have been owned by Guochuan Lai since 2016 which has seen a rollercoaster of emotions.

Lai bought the club from Jeremy Peace for £175 million. Patel is said to be paying just over  £20 million, and is also taking on debt of about £40 million.

Under Lai’s ownership, the club has bounced between the Championship and Premier League but has been confined to England’s second tier since their relegation in 2021.

Patel, who will become chairman of the football club, is an investor in technology, healthcare, sport, real estate, finance, food and beverage, and numerous other sectors across five continents. He has owned a minority shareholding in Serie A club Bologna FC 1909 since 2014.

In a club statement, he said: “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.”

In November, West Brom secured an additional undisclosed loan from the American investment group MSD Holdings, supplementing the £20 million they had borrowed in December 2022, to assist with “ongoing funding” requirements.

West Brom host Southampton at the Hawthorns tonight.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1713320189labto1713320189ofdlr1713320189owedi1713320189sni@g1713320189niwe.1713320189yrrah1713320189