£50m reduction in Southampton takeover fee due to Covid-19 crisis

Shane Long

Southampton is up for sale

The back page of the Star on Sunday will be concerning for Southampton fans.

Southampton were one of the first Premier League sides to commit to wage cuts following the spread of coronavirus.

The Saints agreed to cut their squad’s wages by 10% for the next three months.

As a result of those actions, Southampton have avoided placing any employees on furlough. Instead, non-playing staff continue to receive their salaries in full.

However, despite those cuts, the Star note that the club’s majority shareholder, Gao Jisheng, is willing to take a £50 million hit if he can sell his 80% share in the club.


Note: Gao Jisheng has been looking to sell his Southampton shares for a while

Claims that Gao Jisheng has been looking to sell his interest in Southampton arose over a month ago.

The Chinese businessman, who the Daily Mail report is worth 3.1 billion pounds, bought his 80% stake in the Saints for £210 million in 2017.

Back in 2019, in an interview with the Financial Times, Gao Jisheng explained his vision for the club: for it to become financially self-sufficient. He said:

I am not treating Southampton as a pig to be fattened and sold. I am treating it as a child. But my children must believe they cannot depend on the boss.

I have said to Southampton: ‘I am now your father. But I am putting you on the right track: you need to feed yourself.’

However, at the start of March, the Sunday Times revealed that Gao Jisheng’s equity in Southampton was up for sale.

At that time, Gao Jisheng was looking for 250 million pounds. Before Covid-19 was a factor, the Sunday Times noted:

The club is yet to report financial results for the 2018-19 season but sources involved in finding a purchaser for Southampton expect these to be considerably less healthy than the £28.6 million profit declared last March.


£50m reduction in Southampton takeover fee

The Star now report that Gao Jisheng would accept 200 million pounds for his Southampton shares. Fans are told:

Southampton are set to become the next Premier League club to go under the hammer because of the crippling financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.


Are there any buyers for Southampton?

While the Star note that the 50 million pound reduction is aimed at encouraging “several potential buyers to launch a takeover as soon as possible”, it’s unclear if there are any actual buyers in the frame for the Saints.


Also see: Best Netflix, Amazon & YouTube football documentaries & movies to watch during coronavirus isolation

9 best football documentaries to watch on ESPN+ during COVID-19 quarantine

This article was edited by Benjamin Newman.

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