Reading Football Club is once more foreign owned, having been acquired by an Asian consortium. Sir John Madejski will stay on as co-chairman of the new board.
After the departure of Anton Zingarevich, who bought the club from Madejski in 2012, Reading is now owned by Khunying Sasima Srivikorn (co-chairwoman), Khunying Sasima, Khun Narin Niruttinanon and Khun Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth. The sale is said to be worth some £26 million.
Thai businesswoman Niruttinanon, who is a director of a number of Thai companies, has purchased 50% of the Berkshire club while Sasima and Thanakarnjanasuth have snapped up 25% each following the June departure of Anton Zingarevich, who bought the club from Madejski in May 2012.
“After months of tireless hard work and a lot of speculation, I am very pleased to say that Reading Football Club’s future has been resolved,” Madejski said in a statement on the Reading website.
Zingarevich, who purchased a 51% stake in Reading in May 2012, pulled out of a deal to complete a full takeover shortly after the Royals were relegated from the Premier League.
Madjeski’s statement read: “I am delighted to announce that, following confirmation from the Football League, our new Asian consortium partners are now in place at Reading Football Club.
“Over the past year, since the Zingarevich family left, we have engaged with a number of different prospective investors, but we have now succeeded in finding who I believe are the right people to take this club forward.
“I am honoured to be staying on as co-chairman at the Club I love, with Khunying Sasima Srivikorn as my fellow co-chairwoman. Khunying Sasima has purchased 25% of the club, Khun Narin Niruttinanon has 50% and Khun Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth the remaining 25%. They will all join the Reading Football Club board, as will Khun Jack Srisumrid and Khun Theekharoj Piamphongsarn. Nigel Howe will remain as chief executive and Ian Wood-Smith as non-executive director.
“I cannot speak highly enough of our new partners from the time we have spent together so far. They have shown great professionalism, perseverance, patience and diligence and, on a personal level, our relationship is excellent and long may that continue.
“We have started this season well, which is testament to all of our staff and players here. There are reasons to be optimistic on many fronts, and we now move forward with a renewed vigour and high hopes for a bright new future.”
The purchase is the third by Thai investors of an English football team.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, chairman of the duty-free empire King Power Group, in 2010 paid some two billion baht for the Championship side Leicester City, while former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought the Premiership side Manchester City for £82m in 2007 but sold the club 15 months later to Abu Dhabi-based investors.