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Aston Villa bought by Chinese businessman in £60m deal

Villa confirm that Tony Jiantong Xia will take over the reigns at relegated club with grand ambition to return it to European football

Aston Villa have been taken over by a Chinese investor

The long-awaited takeover of Aston Villa has been rubber-stamped - which leaves both of the city's clubs in Chinese hands.

The relegated club has been sold to the Recon Group in a £60 million deal which will make Tony Jiantong Xia chairman if he gets the green light from footballing authorities.

The takeover was brokered by former Midland KPMG chairman Steve Hollis , who joined Villa in January, and brings an end to the reign of Randy Lerner.

Villa said in a statement: "Dr Xia played football as a striker until he finished at college and football has remained his passion.

"Dr Xia decided to buy an iconic football club in England as the cornerstone of his sports, leisure and tourism division.

"He became a fan of Aston Villa many years ago and is delighted at the opportunity to become the new owner.

"Dr Xia's immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park. He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China with a huge fan base."

It is thought the deal values the club at about £60 million - roughly the same as Randy Lerner paid for it in 2007.

New club chairman Steve Hollis brokered the deal to sell Aston Villa(Image: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

A source said: "Steve Hollis has put in a tremendous amount of work into this. Having had four options to consider, this is the one he focused on."

It comes after reports coming out of China the deal had been agreed, subject to Premier League and FA approval.

The report stated: "Dr Xia will become chairman of Aston Villa and looks forward to the club returning to the Premier League as well the pinnacle of Euro football as soon as possible."

The deal means both Aston Villa and Birmingham City have Chinese ownership - although the reign of Blues' shareholder Carson Yeung is set to be brought to an end.

Neil Rami, chief executive of inward investment group Marketing Birmingham, said the deal was a boost to the city's hopes of attracting Chinese investment.

He said: "This is an important development. The sale of Aston Villa to the Recon Group is a welcome continuation of a trend for Chinese investment into Birmingham.

"We rank number one among regional cities attracting Chinese investors and the West Midlands is the only region in the UK with a trading surplus with China.

"The sale will undoubtedly help build the city's profile in a vital growth market at a key moment in the city's economic resurgence.

"The Recon deal will no doubt further develop the city's reputation in China and I am sure will bolster our international inward investment efforts."

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