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Published: 09:48 | 5/8/16

West Brom confirm takeover

West Brom are to be sold to Chinese investment group led by entrepreneur Guochuan Lai.

The takeover is subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Premier League and once complete former Blackburn chief executive John Williams will replace Jeremy Peace as chairman.

Peace held an 88 per cent stake in the club but he has agreed a deal that will see Guochuan Lai take a controlling share to become the new owner.

"I am excited and privileged to have the chance to become the new owner of this great club. We have a strong squad, loyal fans and a unique culture. My immediate priorities will be to maintain the club's stable structure, respecting its well-run nature and its heritage. I have no intention of changing the club's ethos," Lai said.

"I am proud that I will be the first mainland-Chinese owner of a Premier League club. This historic deal will result in a rapid and significant increase in interest in the club in China, which should lead to attractive commercial opportunities.

"Meanwhile the club will be uniquely positioned to take its well-regarded training system to China, helping to identify and develop more talented young players in the future."

Peace has held the position of chairman for 14 years but is confident the takeover is in the best interests of the club.

"I believe this deal will enable Albion to build on the strong, sustainable foundations that have been the cornerstone of the club's progress," he said.

"I have been chairman for 14 years and I am obviously pleased that in that time we have become an established top-flight club. Now, having spent time with Guochuan, I believe he is the right man to take Albion forward."

Having pulled out of a £15million deal to sign West Ham's Diafra Sakho, new chairman Williams has committed to investing in the squad.

"The immediate focus is on our activity in the transfer window; quite frankly, everything else is peripheral," he said.

"(Manager) Tony Pulis and (technical director) Nick Hammond have told the board we are two or three players short, realistic targets have been identified and there are funds available. We need to get them over the line to ensure Tony has a competitive squad for what is going to be a challenging and demanding campaign."

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