49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of NFL American football's San Francisco 49ers, has today increased its minority stake in Leeds United to 44 per cent after pumping further funds into the English Premier League soccer club.

49ers Enterprises first acquired a 15-per-cent stake in Leeds in 2017 as part of a wider tie-up with Aser, the investment company founded by Andrea Radrizzani, which owns Leeds and international pay-television broadcaster Eleven Sports. A further 22 per cent, taking its stake to 37 per cent in total, was then purchased in January this year.

Now, another seven per cent has been added, meaning the total is now only six per cent short of a majority.

Through the new investment, 49ers Enterprises and Aser Ventures are expected to further expand their wider business alliance and to continue sharing investment expertise and networks.

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

Radrizzani, the former chief executive of the MP & Silva agency who completed his takeover of Leeds in 2017, still retains a majority stake, however.

During the three years of collaboration between Leeds, Aser and 49ers Enterprises, the club has enjoyed significant progress on and off the pitch, posting record commercial revenues, as well as winning the second-tier EFL Championship in the 2019-20 season to win promotion to the Premier League and then securing an impressive ninth-place finish in the top-tier competition last season.

Angus Kinnear, the club’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to see Aser Ventures strengthen their partnership with 49ers Enterprises who have clearly been impressed by the quality of the project.

“Aser Ventures and chairman Andrea Radrizzani remain unequivocally committed to the club, whilst all those involved with the 49ers are actively working with our management team on a daily basis to help to drive us forward, putting us in a strong position to achieve our goals in the coming years.”

49ers Enterprises are represented on Leeds’ board of directors by Paraag Marathe, who in January became vice-chairman of the northern club.

Over the past two years, reports have periodically linked Leeds with interest from Qatar Sports Investments, a vehicle that controls French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain. 

In 2019, Radrizzani travelled to Doha, Qatar’s capital, for talks with QSI, which has been linked with investing in or buying an English club with potential and rich heritage such as Leeds.