49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of NFL American football's San Francisco 49ers, has acquired a majority stake in English soccer club Leeds United after agreeing a deal with owner Andrea Radrizzani’s Aser Ventures company.

The deal to purchase Radrizzani’s stake in the club is worth £170 million ($211.1 million) and will see 49ers Enterprises, which already owned a minority share, complete a full takeover.

The 49ers’ investment vehicle bought a 15% stake in Leeds in 2018 and increased this to 44% in 2021, with that deal including an option for 100% ownership by 2024.

Leeds will be playing in the second-tier English Football League (EFL) Championship next season after they were recently relegated from the Premier League.

It is understood that the previous agreement, which depended on their top-flight survival, was worth about £400 million, but this was renegotiated following their relegation.

In a statement, the club said: “Leeds United can confirm an agreement has been reached between Aser Ventures and 49ers Enterprises for the purchase of the club.

“Both parties continue to work through the details, and further updates will be provided soon. All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League.”

The deal will need to pass the English Football League’s owners’ and directors’ test. Although it is regarded as a formality, the process is expected to take several weeks.

The 49ers and Leeds have been formally linked since January 2014 when the two organizations entered into a strategic partnership.

Radrizzani, the former chief executive of the MP & Silva agency, purchased Leeds in 2017 for £45 million but his stake has dropped to 56% since then.

Earlier this month (June), the Italian sports and media executive agreed a deal to acquire Italian side Sampdoria.

Following Leeds’ relegation, Radrizzani released a statement promising a new strategy and “change” at the club.

He apologized to fans and admitted the hierarchy had “made some mistakes” in its running of the team.

During his tenure, Radrizzani succeeded in returning Leeds to the Premier League after 16 years with promotion in the 2019-20 season.

In recent years, reports had periodically linked Leeds with interest from Qatar Sports Investments, a vehicle that controls French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Paraag Marathe who had represented 49ers Enterprises on Leeds’ board of directors as vice chair of the club, is expected to replace Radrizzani as chair.

Angus Kinnear, believed to be a close ally of Marathe, is set to remain as chief executive. Kinnear has enjoyed considerable success in that role, increasing the club’s turnover and maximizing commercial revenue streams.

The 49ers group will soon look to begin work to redevelop parts of the team’s Elland Road stadium, with Marathe keen to expand the venue’s capacity.

Image: George Wood/Getty Images