SUNDERLAND, England (AP) — Sunderland became the fourth Premier League club under American ownership Wednesday when Texas businessman Ellis Short completed his takeover.
Short, who had been majority shareholder with a stake of more than 30 percent, will assume 100 percent control of the club from northeast England, Sunderland said in a statement.
Short, a former executive with the Dallas-based private equity group Lone Star Funds, will complete his buyout of the consortium put together by chairman Niall Quinn three years ago.
"This is fantastic news for the club," Quinn said. "Ellis has already shown tremendous commitment to date but today's announcement opens the door for a new era at the Stadium of Light."
Three other Premier League clubs — Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa — are also owned by Americans.
Sunderland narrowly escaped relegation this season, finishing 16th in the 20-team standings. The club is looking for a new manager after Ricky Sbragia quit following Sunday's season-ending 3-2 loss to Chelsea. Wigan manager Steve Bruce is the favorite for the post.
The eight-person Drumaville consortium bought Sunderland in 2006 for $18.4 million.
Quinn will continue to run the club as chairman along with a recently strengthened executive board. Five non-executive directors will step down.
Quinn said he first met Short at the Ryder Cup in 2006.
"He's an avid sports fan and caught the football bug following his move to the U.K. 10 years ago and is now a huge fan of the Premier League," Quinn said. "Even before today he has personally invested more in Sunderland than all previous chairmen, directors and owners combined in the club's history.
"As long as we invest the funds wisely, he will continue to provide what has been the missing ingredient in Sunderland's makeup, namely the financial muscle necessary to compete at the highest level."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.