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Chinese investors complete takeover of West Brom

Associated Press Associated Press 15/09/2016
AFC Bournemouth's Jordan Ibe, right, and West Bromwich Albion's Brendan Galloway battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Daniel Hambury/PA via AP) © The Associated Press AFC Bournemouth's Jordan Ibe, right, and West Bromwich Albion's Brendan Galloway battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, England, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Daniel Hambury/PA via AP)

WEST BROMWICH, England — The takeover of English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion by Chinese investors has been finalized.

West Brom said in a statement that the purchase of the club by Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited, announced in August, was completed on Thursday. The takeover had been subject to approval by the league and English financial authorities.

Lai Guochuan will head the new ownership group. He oversaw the development of the landscaping company Palm, which started out as a plant nursery business and now develops eco-towns in China and is worth 1.8 million pounds ($2.36 million). He has purchased an 88 percent stake in the club owned by chairman Jeremy Peace, who is stepping down.

West Brom, which has been in the Premier League since 2010, joins fellow English teams Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Birmingham in being owned or part-owned by Chinese investors.

Manchester City also announced in December that China Media Capital Holdings and CITIC Capital were investing $400 million to buy 13 percent of the club's umbrella organization.

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