Randy Lerner Invests More Than 200 Million Pounds to Cover Villa Losses

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has put more than 200 million pounds ($326 million) into the Premier League soccer team to cover losses since buying it in 2006, accounts show.

Lerner, who also owns the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns, took his investment in the seven-time English champion to 204.2 million pounds after providing 25 million pounds through equity infusions and loans in the year ended May 31, 2010, according to a Companies House filing.

The club’s parent company, Reform Acquisitions Ltd., recorded a loss of 37.6 million pounds, narrowing 19 percent from a year earlier. Reform’s revenue increased from 84.2 million pounds to 90.9 million pounds, with the increase wiped out by an 11 percent rise in costs to 141.7 million pounds.

Salaries surged 13 percent to 80 million pounds, meaning the club has a wages-to-revenue ratio of almost 90 percent, one of the highest in the Premier League. European soccer’s governing body UEFA said wages should at most account for 70 percent of revenue.

UEFA will start scrutinizing teams’ balance sheets next season as part of a bid to control costs in the sport. Clubs that don’t meet guidelines limiting spending to income may face suspension from the Champions League and Europa League beginning in 2014.

Villa finished sixth in the league the past three seasons but struggled after manager Martin O’Neill quit five days before the start of this campaign following a dispute about player acquisitions.

The club, now coached by Gerard Houllier, is currently 12th in the Premier League and broke its transfer record in January by signing Darren Bent from Sunderland for as much as 24 million pounds. Villa visits Manchester City tomorrow in the fifth round of the F.A. Cup.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in the London newsroom at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

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