Chinese property developers Lander Sports Development‘s bid to buy a controlling stake in Premier League club Southampton has collapsed, according to a company statement made to the stock market.
Lander Sports had previously announced to the Shenzhen stock market in January that they had agreed in principle to buy a stake in Southampton’s parent company, but in the last few months there have been an increasing number of reports in China that the government is becoming concerned at companies investing in overseas clubs.
According to Reuters, numerous sports-related deals “have hit hurdles after Beijing said it would rein in risks from “irrational” outbound investments, with particular focus on sectors including hotels, entertainment and sports.”
Although Li Yonghong and his Chinese consortium finally agreed a deal to purchase AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi last week for €740 million, with total Chinese investment in overseas football now totalling over $3 billion according to Reuters, Lander Sports’ concerns over uncertainty following the government’s changes to the securities market and related policies have led them to pull out of the takeover.
“Whether the company can eventually complete the acquisition of the target firm’s shares remains uncertain,” the company announced in a statement made to the stock market.
“To keep to principle of prudence, ensure the company’s development remains normal and to safeguard the majority of investors’ interests, the company has decided to end this major asset restructuring.”
Southampton, EFL Cup finalists this season, will therefore remain in the control of owner Katharina Liebherr, the daughter of former owner Markus Liebherr who died in 2010.