SPORT Republic have completed the purchase of Saints, acquiring a controlling 80 per cent stake in the club from former owner Gao Jisheng.

The London-based investment firm was founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and backed by lead investor Dragan Solak, a Serbian billionaire.

A statement from Saints read: "Sport Republic is an investment firm in the sports and entertainment industry. They have purchased the shareholding of the club held by Mr Gao and will work in partnership with Katharina Liebherr who retains her minority shareholding.

"Everyone within the Southampton community would like to wish Mr Gao and his family well for their future."

Discussing the takeover, Solak, who is also the founder and chairman of the advisory board of telecommunications company United Group, 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.”

Martin Semmens is set to stay on as CEO at the club, working alongside Kraft and Ankersen, the latter having spent the past six years working at Brentford.