Randy Lerner was last night given a clear path to assume control of Aston Villa after the consortium calling itself AV06 failed to register a counter bid before the midnight deadline.
Lerner's takeover, at a cost of £62.6 million, has become a formality, ending the Doug Ellis era and sparking enthusiasm among the majority of Villa supporters.
Any rival consortium had to make an offer of at least five per cent higher than the Lerner bid - £65.73 million - to disrupt the plans of the American.
AV06, a consortium led by Nicholas Padfield QC, claimed that it was set to offer £70 million to buy the club but the rhetoric did not manifest itself with a tangible bid.
Significantly, the share price of the company has not moved in the ten days since Lerner's offer was accepted by Ellis, the leading shareholder, meaning that the market did not take Padfield's consortium seriously enough.
This means that Ellis and Jack Petchey, the second-largest shareholder, will be able to transfer their combined shareholding of 57 per cent to Lerner once the banks open in New York.
Lerner, aged 44, made his fortune through the MBNA credit-card company. He is one of the 100 richest men in the United States and owns the Cleveland Browns team of the NFL. His plans are wide-reaching. He will provide a generous amount for Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, with a view to strengthening the team. He will increase the capacity of Villa Park and create a new approach in terms of marketing.
Ellis is said to be pleased with the outcome and is confident that Lerner is the right man to take Villa into a new era. Villa are seen as one of the most under-achieving clubs in Europe and the intervention of Lerner could recreate the days of 1982 when VIlla won the European Cup.
The takeover will be completed in the autumn at the earliest but the reality is that Villa have entered a new era, perhaps the most significant in their history.