(Reuters) - A consortium of investors has agreed terms to acquire a majority controlling stake in Premiership side Saracens for 32 million pounds ($43 million), the club said on Saturday.
Saracens, four times Premiership champions and three times European Cup winners in the last five years, were relegated last season as punishment for multiple salary cap breaches. But they returned to the top flight after winning the second-tier Championship.
The club said the consortium comprises club chairman Neil Golding and Dominic Silvester and Paul O'Shea from Enstar Group, a global insurance group.
South African former World Cup-winning captain and Saracens player Francois Pienaar, Nick Leslau, the chairman and chief executive of Prestbury Investment Holdings, and Marco Masotti, an owner of South Africa's Sharks rugby team, are also in the consortium.
Nigel Wray, who was the club's owner for more than 25 years, said he would be retaining a "significant minority shareholding".
"I'm not getting any younger and I have always wanted to make sure that Saracens is in very safe hands for many future generations," he said in a statement.
The club said the takeover is subject to regulatory approval. The new funds would be used to complete the redevelopment of the West Stand, invest in women's sport and establish a high performance training centre, it said.
"We move on from the recent challenges with hard lessons learned and with robust new governance procedures in place," Golding said in a statement.
($1 = 0.7383 pounds)
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Hugh Lawson)