Western Balkans and EU News
04.01.22 | Football

Serbian tycoon owned company acquires 80 percent of Southampton FC shares


London, 04 January 2022, dtt-net.com – Southampton Football Club today confirmed that SportRepublic - backed by Lead Investor Dragan Solak - has completed the acquisition of a controlling stake of 80 percent in Southampton Football Club.

Sport Republic is an investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. They have purchased the shareholding of the club held by Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng and will work in partnership with Katharina Liebherr who retains her minority shareholding, the club said.

 “My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and SportRepublic has been founded to combine this expertise and deliver something unique to the market. Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation. It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football and a dedicated fan base. We are delighted to be able to complete this acquisition as a first step towards execution of our investment strategy. Southampton will be a cornerstone of the organisation we plan to build,” the Lead Investor of Sport Republic, Dragan Solak, said.

 Sport Republic is a London-based investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. Founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and backed by Lead Investor Dragan Solak, SportRepublic’s vision is to apply proprietary intelligence and data analytics to help sports businesses and sports technology companies reach their full potential. More information about SportRepublic can be found on www.sportrepublic.com. 

According to the press release by the club, Dragan Solak is the Lead Investor of Sport Republic. He is also the Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board of United Group. Under Solak's stewardship, United Group has grown from a green field investment in a cable operator in Central Serbia to become a leader in Southeast Europe in telecommunication and media sectors. UG Telecom is delivering broadband, mobile and pay-TV services to a market of more than 40 million people across eight countries. United Group’s media arm, United Media, is a leading media company with five national broadcasters, more than 50 pay TV channels, a very successful digital portfolio of 28 web portals, eight newspapers and magazines and five radio stations, producing in excess of 20,000 hours of original content annually whilst it also operates a global streaming TV service.

In March 2014, United Group was bought by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), a leading global investment firm with headquarters in New York, and U.S. 94.3 billion in assets under management. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is a co-investor in the company.

In September 2018, a British private equity firm BC Partners began the process of acquisition of the majority stakes of United Group from KKR for an enterprise valuation of 2.6 billion euros. The acquisition was finalized on 4 March 2019.

On 24 December 2020, United Group announced they would buy Bulgaria's Nova Broadcasting Group. The acquisition was completed on 22 January 2021.

04.01.22 | Football