West Bromwich Albion have been successfully taken over by a Chinese investment group, the club have confirmed. Former chairman Jeremy Peace agreed in August to sell the Premier League side to Yunyi Guokai Sports Development Limited prior to the transfer of ownership to new owner Guochuan Lai.
The Express and Star understands the deal has seen Lai pay £175m ($231m) for The Hawthorns club, who are currently 12th in the Premier League after four points from their opening four matches under Tony Pulis. The position of the Baggies boss has recently come under scrutiny amid the club's failure to land a series of targets in the summer transfer window.
An agreement over the takeover had been agreed earlier in the summer, subject to approval from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Premier League – which conducts a thorough check of all new owners prior to the transfer of shares. The ratification of the deal sees Lai take full control of West Brom, who have appointed John Williams as the club new chairman.
"I'm delighted to complete the acquisition and to become the next steward of the club," he told the official West Brom website. "I would like to thank Jeremy Peace for his leadership over the last 15 years and for laying the strong foundations for the next stage of the club's development. I am excited to have the opportunity to support the club's chairman, John Williams, and the team in building the club over the years ahead."
Peace meanwhile leaves West Brom after 15 seasons as chairman with the club, the majority of which were in the top flight of English football. "It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the Albion. "I am proud that 11 of my 15 seasons as chairman have been spent in the Premier League while three others brought automatic promotion from the Championship," he added.
"Guochuan Lai has been a supportive partner during the handover process and we have both done everything possible to move the club forward. Guochuan, John Williams, my board colleagues, our staff and supporters have my very best wishes for the future."