American financier to buy stake in English club Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — American financier Tom Wagner is buying a 45.64% stake in English soccer team Birmingham, saying Monday the potential for the second-tier club is “unlimited.”

The deal with Wagner’s firm, Shelby Companies Limited, will see it take control of Birmingham’s St. Andrews stadium.

Birmingham was last in the Premier League in 2011 and has been under Chinese owners since 2007.

In a letter to fans, Wagner said Knighthead Capital Management, of which Shelby is a subsidiary, has expertise in “turning around and transforming organizations that are experiencing difficulties.”

“We plan to commit the resources, in line with (English Football League) guidelines, the skills and the determination needed to deliver transformational improvements for the good of the club and the good of the city,” Wagner said.

“The transition and implementation plans,” he added, “will take time and require your patience, but we believe we will earn your trust and succeed with your support.”

The deal is subject to approval by the EFL and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Wagner was a guest of the central England club at its final Championship game of the season, at home to Sheffield United, on Monday. Birmingham was in 17th place in the 24-team league heading into the game.


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