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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
Lerner set to complete Villa deal
Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner
Lerner has acquired the 90% of shares he needs for a full takeover
American billionaire Randy Lerner has edged closer to his takeover of Aston Villa after increasing his shareholding of the club to over 90%.

Lerner is set to exercise his right to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares as soon as possible.

He was officially installed as chairman of Aston Villa on 19 September after Doug Ellis vacated the role.

Ellis, 82, who has been associated with the Midlands outfit since 1968, will be given an honorary presidency role.

Ellis was chairman from 1968 to 1975 and then again from 1982 until last week.

He missed out on being at the helm when Villa won the old First Division title in 1981 and the European Cup in 1982.

Mr Ellis told us it was his last game but he will always be around the club

Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen on Doug Ellis

A statement to the Stock Exchange from Lerner's company Reform Acquisitions Limited read: "Ral has now received valid acceptances of the offer in respect of more than 90% of the Aston Villa shares to which the offer relates.

"Accordingly, Ral has today issued notices under Schedule 2 to the Takeovers Directive (Interim Implementation) Regulations 2006 to those Aston Villa shareholders who have not already accepted the offer, informing them that it now intends to exercise its rights to acquire compulsorily all the Aston Villa shares outstanding at the expiry of the requisite notice period.

"In the meantime, the offer remains open for acceptance."

General Charles C Krulak, Bob Kain and Michael Martin are Villa's new non-executive directors.

The club have also announced that Steve Stride will remain as an executive director on the board.

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Speaking after Villa's 0-0 draw with Watford on 16 September, Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen said: "Mr Ellis told us it was his last game but he will always be around the club.

"He means a lot to Aston Villa and should always have an honorary place in the stadium for the rest of his life."

Lerner, the owner of American football team the Cleveland Browns, has already been busy planning Villa's future.

He is hoping to line-up a 100m sponsorship deal by Christmas, which will provide manager Martin O'Neill with further funds for players alongside Lerner's own capital.

Lerner is also set to bring in a chief executive to handle the day-to-day running of Villa - a post that has been vacant since Bruce Langham resigned in May 2005.

SEE ALSO
Ellis replaced by Lerner at Villa
19 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
Lerner closer to control of Villa
05 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
End of an era
05 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
Lerner seals majority Villa share
25 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa
Learning about Lerner
15 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa
Lerner to take low-key Villa role
20 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa


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