US entrepreneur completes £60m takeover of West Brom

Shilen Patel. Credit: WBA

Shilen Patel is now the majority shareholder and chairman of West Bromwich Albion, after his £60m takeover of the club from Guochuan Lai completed. 

Florida-based entrepreneur and investor Patel and his father Dr Kiran C. Patel, have acquired a 87.8% stake in the parent company of the club with their firm Bilkul Football WBA.

The deal, which was announced by the club on February 15 and already approved by the EFL, has taken almost fortnight to complete.

Patel revealed in his first interview with the club that had been looking at acquiring the Baggies since September and put an offer in a few weeks later.

He said: “I am delighted and humbled to become the new custodian of West Bromwich Albion Football Club.  

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

“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”.

West Brom have been out of the top flight since the 2020–21 season and now sit fifth in the Sky Bet Championship table with 12 games to play. They take on Coventry tomorrow night (Friday 1). 

The deal brought the contentious reign of Guochuan Lai to an end who missed several repayment deadlines for a £4.95m loan.

Lai took out the loan in March 2021 to help another of his companies – Wisdom Smart Corporation, through the pandemic.

The chairman – who had been very absent from The Hawthorns – said the money would be returned with £50,000 interest by 31st December 2022. This date was set after Lai postponed repayment from September 2021.

Albion had also taken out another disclosed loan from US-based investment group MSD Holdings in November, on top of the £20m it secured at an interest rate of 10% APR to finance the club’s “general business operations” in November 2022. Parachute payments also expired at the end of last season resulting in first-team squad members being offloaded to balance the books