Bloomberg reports and Black and Red United can independently confirm that Erick Thohir and Jason Levien, the Managing Partner and Managing General Partner of D.C. United, respectively, have bought out Managing Partner Will Chang’s 40 percent share in the club for an unreleased amount, and now have 100 percent ownership in the team.
Chang, who also owns Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, first purchased the team in 2007 that included former Duke Blue Devils basketball players Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, among others. Chang’s friend, Victor MacFarlane, was part of this group and hoped to build a stadium at Poplar Point before this proposal collapsed, forcing MacFarlane to sell his stake in the team in 2009. Chang looked for investors in the team for three years before Thohir and Levien purchased a controlling interest in the team in 2012.
Thohir and Levien have conducted independent transactions on sports franchises already in 2016; Thohir sold his majority ownership of Serie A side Inter Milan while Levien was part of a group that bought a controlling stake of England Premier League side Swansea City, in a group that includes Levien’s former co-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies Steve Kaplan and current LA Galaxy player Landon Donovan.
What this means for D.C. remains to be seen; Chang’s visibility with the club at tailgates or road games diminished over the years once investors had been found, and the Bloomberg article notes some debt held by Chang, presumably on the team, was part of the deal. It also remains to be seen what plans, if any, there are for exchanging of best practices or more with Swans (who just hired former United States coach Bob Bradley as their manager), or if any more will be done with Inter Milan past an occasional apprenticeship by Inter coaches here or D.C. players there.