Patel completes West Bromwich Albion takeover


New West Bromwich Albion owner Shilen Patel
Shilen Patel is also a minority shareholder of Bologna in Serie A

Shilen Patel has completed the takeover of Championship club West Brom from Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai.

The American, who is now the majority shareholder, has also become the Baggies’ new chairman.

Bilkul Football WBA – a company owned by Florida-based entrepreneur Patel and his father Kiran Patel – has acquired an 87.8% shareholding.

“I am humbled to become the new custodian of West Bromwich Albion,” Shilen Patel said.

The takeover, first announced by Albion on 16 February, has taken almost a fortnight to be finalised but, having been approved by the English Football League, Patel has now officially taken charge.

Patel has also owned a minority shareholding in Italian Serie A club Bologna since 2014.

BBC Sport originally reported in January that Patel had become a significant candidate to take control of the club from Lai, who had been owner since buying out Jeremy Peace in 2016.

Albion are well placed in the battle for a Championship play-off place, lying fifth under head coach Carlos Corberan – 16 points off an automatic promotion place, but with a four-point cushion on the chasing pack.

‘Success does not occur overnight’

The Baggies have not played in the Premier League since being relegated at the end of the 2020-21 season, having twice lost their top-flight status under Lai.

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting project for the club to regain its standing as a consistent Premier League presence,” Patel added.

“Success does not occur overnight, but it is my ambition to build on the club’s current and historical strengths and surround West Bromwich Albion with high quality stakeholders at home and globally.

“I am also fortunate to be inheriting and continuing the great work of The Albion Foundation at home and abroad.

“I am in awe of the opportunity to help write the next chapter in Baggies history and am committed to being a responsible, respectful, and effective steward of the club.”

The American has also previously invested in businesses across five continents including technology, healthcare, real estate, finance, food and beverages.

Where do Albion stand now?

Albion are in their fifth season out of six outside the Premier League, something they have not experienced in more than two decades.

They are no longer in receipt of parachute payments and fans remain furious at Lai’s failure to repay the £5m he owes from a loan received from the club following the Covid pandemic in March 2021.

In November, the Baggies confirmed they had taken out another loan for an unspecified amount from American investment group MSD Holdings, on top of the £20m they borrowed in December 2022, to help with “ongoing funding”.

Albion’s first task under the new Patel regime will be trying to take all three points off Midlands promotion rivals Coventry City on Friday.

Lai in the Black Country

How the time under Lai unfolded:


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