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By ESPN Staff

Lerner moves past 90 per cent in bid for control of Villa

Randy Lerner has increased his holding in Aston Villa to over 90 per cent of all shares in the club and now intends to exercise his right to compulsorily purchase the remainder as soon as possible.

The American officially became chairman of the club last week in place of Doug Ellis and today a statement to the Stock Exchange by Lerner's company, Reform Acquisitions Limited, confirmed he had passed the point where he is entitled to complete a total buy-out.

The statement from RAL read: 'RAL has now received valid acceptances of the offer in respect of more than 90 per cent of the Aston Villa shares to which the offer relates.

'Accordingly, RAL has today issued notices under Schedule 2 to the Takeovers Directive (Interim Implementation) Regulations 2006 to those Aston Villa shareholders who have not already accepted the offer, informing them that it now intends to exercise its rights to acquire compulsorily all the Aston Villa shares outstanding at the expiry of the requisite notice period.

'In the meantime, the offer remains open for acceptance.'

Lerner, who also owns NFL franchise Cleveland Browns, is expected to de-list Villa from the Stock Exchange and run the club as a private company.

It was confirmed in late July that the 44-year-old had held initial discussions regarding a takeover with Ellis.

Lerner is chairman of credit card company MBNA, taking over the role following the death of his father in 2002 and is worth a reported 1.2 billion US dollars.