And just like that we have confirmation of the BBC report. Aston Villa have released an official statement confirming that Randy Lerner has sold the club to the Recon Group, a holding company owned by Dr. Tony Jiantong Xia. The Recon Group are the owners of five publicly listed companies on Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges, and are the private holding company of Xia.
The sale is pending final approval from the Football League, but it would be hard to imagine it being shot down if the sides have gotten far enough to make a public announcement like this. Additionally, in the statement, Villa note that they will name a new manager once the sale is officially complete.
Of Xia, the statement says the following:
"Dr Xia played football as a striker until he finished at college and football has remained his passion. Dr Xia decided to buy an iconic football Club in England as the cornerstone of his Sports, Leisure and Tourism Division. He became a fan of Aston Villa many years ago and is delighted at the opportunity to become the new owner.
Dr Xia's immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the Club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park. He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football Club in China with a huge fan base."
We will keep you updated as news continues to come in, but the short version of this is: it's over. Randy Lerner is gone and we might be able to turn things around!