West Bromwich Albion’s long-awaited takeover by a Chinese investment group has been completed, the Premier League club have announced.
Former chairman Jeremy Peace agreed a deal to sell to the group, led by entrepreneur Guochuan Lai, last month.
“I’m delighted to complete the acquisition and to become the next steward of the club,” said Lai.
Peace, who took over as chairman in 2002, added: “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the Albion.”
Lai, 42, oversaw the growth of landscaping company Palm in his home country before retiring in May 2014 to focus on private investment.
Palm, which was valued at £1.8bn on the Chinese stock exchange, has contributed to the takeover.
The deal was agreed in June and had been waiting for approval from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Premier League.
Albion are the third West Midlands club to be bought by Chinese investors this summer following the recent takeovers of Aston Villa and Wolves.
Peace added: “I am proud that 11 of my 15 seasons as chairman have been spent in the Premier League whilst three others brought automatic promotion from the Championship.
“Guochuan Lai has been a supportive partner during the handover process and we have both done everything possible to move the club forward.”
Will the takeover affect manager Pulis?
Albion manager Tony Pulis’s future has been under increasing scrutiny since he criticised the club’s board following a frustrating transfer window.
Pulis, 58, was disappointed by their failure to land some of his preferred transfer targets this summer – but decided not to resign from the job.
The Baggies signed Tottenham midfielder Nacer Chadli, QPR winger Matt Phillips, Watford full-back Allan Nyom, Everton full-back Brendan Galloway on loan and free agent striker Hal Robson-Kanu.
But moves for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho and Malaga midfielder Ignacio Camacho did not materialise.
Albion are 12th in the Premier League after taking four points from their opening four games.
After Saturday’s defeat at Bournemouth, Pulis defended his record since arriving in January 2015.
The Baggies finished 13th in the Premier League after he took over from Alan Irvine, following that up with a 14th-place finish last season.
“The remit was to keep the club in the Premier League and in profit, and that’s what we’ve done,” Pulis said at the weekend.