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Southampton in £200m takeover talks with US billionaire Joseph DaGrosa

US Billionaire and former Bordeaux owner, Joseph DaGrosa, is believed to be in talks with Southampton to takeover the club with a bid worth £200 million.

According to Sportsmail, the American billionaire is in exclusive talks with current owner, Gao Jisheng, who put The Saints on the market earlier this year. Taking money out of China has become increasingly challenging for Gao forcing him to sell his majority share.

Gao currently owns 80 percent of the Premier League side after purchasing the club for £210 million three years ago. During that time, The Saints have remained in the highest tier of professional football in England but now Gao is hoping to sell.

Last year, Mike Ashley, Newcastle United’s owner, was approached by DaGrosa regarding a potential takeover after selling his stake in French football club Bordeaux. Yet, talks between the two did not advance.

Whether DaGrosa will be successful appears to be unclear as it depends upon the ability to borrow the significant amount to purchase the majority stake. Currently, The Saints are surrounded by a vast amount of debt following a £70 million loan from MSD capital.

Due to liquidity issues from owner Gao, the club’s valuation has decreased after borrowing a bridging loan from MSD, so, by the start of the season the club could fulfil their financial obligations.

Potential new owner, DaGrosa believes numerous clubs are undervalued following the coronavirus pandemic because of overcorrecting within the market. DaGrosa’s private equity firm, General American Capital Partners (GACP), believe this is a theory that can be applied when purchasing players which could lead to new additions to manager Hasenhüttl’s squad.

At the moment, very few clubs are purchasing talent because of the financial losses from a lack of matchday income. Therefore, when purchasing players, DeGrosa believes bargains can be discovered making the prices of players to decrease.

Southampton’s former shirt sponsor with Chinese entertainment and marketing company, LD Sports, was terminated last month as the club were unsure whether the company was an “appropriate and viable partner”. Legal action has been taken and now gambling firm are now the shirt sponsor of The Saints.

Author: James Parker