Aston Villa approve Lerner takeover


The Aston Villa board has announced that is has given the green light to the proposed takeover of the club by US tycoon Randy Lerner.

In a statement to the stock exchange this morning, the Midlands club said it was unanimously recommending that shareholders accept the £62.6 million cash offer, which equates to 547p per share.

If the deal does go ahead, the consortium led by Lerner, who also owns the American football outfit Cleveland Browns, will gain a 57 per cent share in Aston Villa.

The 44-year-old billionaire stated his belief this morning that the club, which won the European cup 25 years ago, had the potential to "compete at the highest level within the Premiership and in Europe".

"The club has a rich history and a long tradition of passionate fan support," he said.

Outgoing chairman Doug Ellis, 82, who has faced severe criticism from supporters over an apparent-lack of financial investment in the team's playing squad, explained that Aston Villa had nevertheless been "an enormous and immensely enjoyable part of my life".

He added: "I wish to thank the many staff at Aston Villa over the years for making the club what it has been and what it is. I am sure that this transaction will be the beginning of a new chapter in Aston Villa's proud history."

The club had been linked with several takeovers this summer, and all were reportedly happy with the appointment of Martin O'Neill as first-team manager.

O'Neill may now find his transfer coffers swelled ahead of the imminent Premiership season, with fans hopeful the team can improve on last season's 16th.

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