MLS Board of Governors has reportedly approved changes in the D.C. United investment group, with several new names set to join club CEO Jason Levien.
There have been reports of a potential shakeup to United investment, and it now appears that some changes are close to being unveiled. The transaction has not officially closed, but the MLS Board of Governors reportedly signed off on a change that will see the addition of businessman Steve Kaplan and other owners of the Welsh club Swansea City to the investor group that backs United.
While spelling the end of Erick Thohir‘s run with United, this transaction would allow Levien to expand his dealings with Kaplan, a frequent business partner. More from The Washington Post:
Levien and Kaplan are the majority shareholders of the Swans, who will compete in the second-tier English Championship this season after getting relegated from the Premier League. Combined, they will claim the majority stake in United. Previously, they did business together with the Memphis Grizzlies. Levien is no longer involved with the NBA team, but Kaplan remains vice chairman. The duo also has partnered in esports and technology ventures.
Al Tylis, a former U.S. real estate executive and Swansea City minority owner who co-founded a children’s foundation named for his family, will also buy a stake in United’s investment group, sources said. Kaplan and Tylis were seen in Levien’s suite at Audi Field for the July 25 match against the New York Red Bulls. The other investors have not been identified but include several other Swansea City stakeholders, a source said.
Levien — who has homes in Washington and New York and is a regular visitor to United matches and events — seems likely to retain his title as CEO.
Technically, MLS owns all 23 teams and rewards operating rights to individuals and groups, but deals are typically consummated outside the league’s sphere before facing board approval. The board met this week in Atlanta before Wednesday night’s All-Star Game.
Thohir has been involved with United for six years and owned 78% of the team, according to the Post. During his tenure with the club, United has opened the brand-new Audi Field and began planning for a new training academy in Loudoun County, VA that will include the home stadium of Loudoun United FC–a USL club set to begin play in 2019.