Who is Dragan Solak? Net worth of Serbian billionaire behind £100m Southampton takeover

Premier League side under new ownership as United Group media mogul leads Sport Republic buy-out.

Southampton are the latest English top flight club to be taken over as a company lead by Serbian businessman Dragan Solak have bought a controlling stake in the Saint Mary’s outfit.

The takeover is fronted by London based group Sport Republic with the billionaire footing the bill from his vast wealth.

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The group have paid £100m to purchase Gao Jisheng’s 80 percent stake in the club, with Katharina Liebherr retaining her 20 percent minority stake.

Here is everything you need to know about Dragan Solak, including the net worth of the Serb and how he made his billions.

Who is Dragan Solak?

Serbian businessman Dragan Solak, hits a shot during the Open de Espana ProAm at PGA Catalunya Resort on May 14, 2014 in Girona, Spain.

New Southampton owner Dragan Solak is a Serbian businessman who founded United Group, a telecoms company which has grown into a major broadcaster, broadband and mobile company in Europe.

The group operate five national broadcasters as well newspapers, magazines, radio stations and other TV channels.

United Group also own rights to show Premier League football in Solak’s native Serbia.

What is Dragan Solak’s net worth?

A report from Serbia, published in February 2021, claimed that new Southampton owner Dragan Solak has a net worth of €1.22 billion (around £1.02 billion by current exchange rates).

Solak has several other “business interest” including motion picture production and is also a keen golfer.

Who else is behind the Southampton takeover?

Former Brentford Director of Football Rasmus Ankersen is also involved with Sport Republic, working as the company’s Chief Executive.

Ankersen was Director of Football at Brentford from 2015 till December 2021 when the London side announced he would be leaving to take up the Sport Republic role.

The Dane also served as executive chairman of FC Midtjylland while working at Brentford.

What has been said about the Southampton takeover?

Southampton have released a statement regarding their new ownership

Southampton released a statement on their official website yesterday.

In the statement, Southampton FC CEO Martin Semmens said: “Over the last two years, together with the shareholders of our club, we have searched for the right partner to take the club forward. Today we have found the perfect solution for our club.

“Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced within the world of elite professional sports. That combination is very hard to find, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement that secures our short and long-term future.

“We are grateful for the support of Mr Gao and Katharina that allowed us to take our time, turn away the wrong options and ultimately find the right partner for the future of this great club, its fans, staff and the people of Southampton.

“Today we welcome a new beginning with a new ownership group. We have found partners with ambition for the future, but with a clear understanding of what Southampton stands for and the direction we must go in now. The strategy is to push forward with the plans we have had in place over the last two years, but with their support we can now do this with a renewed focus and speed. Continuity, stability, and clarity of the way forward are equally as important as the new initiatives and ideas we can now bring to the club.

“Sport Republic is being built to provide a network of people, clubs, and technology that allows the clubs within it to grow every day and gain the advantages you need to be successful. As a club, we have never wanted to buy success, but to earn it. Sport Republic gives us the power to improve our operations at every level, helping us to reach for the success our staff work so hard for, and our fans crave.

“Everyone at Southampton welcomes Dragan, Henrik, Rasmus and the people within Sport Republic to our great club. We searched the world for good people with the ambition and resources to lead us into the next era and I am happy to confirm we have found them. We can’t wait to get started and be part of the future of Sport Republic.”

The statememnt also feature comments from Dragan Solak, who said: ““My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and Sport Republic 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.”

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