THE Ospreys are "thrilled by the opportunities ahead" after a sports marketing group bought a 75.1 per cent stake in the region.

Asian-based Y11 Sports & Media company are now the Liberty Stadium side’s major shareholder in a “multi-million pound deal”.

Ospreys chairman Rob Davies will remain in his role as he and pre-existing shareholders collectively retain a 24.9 per cent stake, with chief executive James Davies-Yandle and financier Donald Tang added as directors on the club's board.

A new holding company - Ospreys International Group - has been established with all the financial benefits made to be put back into the club.

Davies said: "Since the advent of regional rugby, the Ospreys have always aimed to be its pioneers.

"We haven't been afraid to do things differently and to push the envelope. Today's announcement is us doing the same again.

"It was essential we found a partner who shared our ambition and vision, but with the cultural understanding, expertise and resources to propel the region and community all into a new era.

"We needed to secure the success of the past, whilst embracing fully the future and that is what we are now doing together. We're thrilled by the opportunities ahead."

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A proposed merger between the Ospreys and Scarlets was shelved last year and the Swansea side endured a torrid 2019/20.

They were whitewashed in a tough Champions Cup group with Racing 92, Saracens and Munster and won just two of their games in the Guinness PRO14.

However, things are looking up after Toby Booth was appointed as head coach, a raft of stars, notably Wales and Lions flanker Justin Tipuric, signed to stay with the region and scrum-half Rhys Webb agreed to return from Toulon.

Davies-Yandle, whose father Mike played for Swansea, believes the Ospreys’ future is bright.

“Rugby’s potential has been overlooked for too long as other sports have been nimbler at seizing commercial opportunities to power success on the pitch with revenues off it,” he said.

“But the environment is changing quickly and rugby is on the verge of going through the same type of evolution as other sports before it.

“The Ospreys, from a standing start, have gone on to be one of the most exciting brands and teams in rugby.

“Of all the clubs we’ve seen, its potential to fully emerge and take the next step is far beyond that of its peers.

“We want to help it make that journey and be a part of that journey by investing in a root and branch transformation of the Ospreys, to ensure it leads the next wave of the game.”

"Alongside the Ospreys' management, we have agreed a programme of development and investment that will touch every aspect of the organisation's operations and activities.

"Initially, we will take our time together to methodically build operational strength, capacity and resilience, before rapidly accelerating programmes across the board.

"Crucially, we are not going to allow ourselves to be held back by the current operating environment and we are not going to be afraid to break the mould.

"Ultimately, our reach and our sights are set far beyond our existing borders and our business model and expertise are too.

"It's an exciting time for the Ospreys: its team, its supporters, the organisation as well as for the game of rugby."

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The Dragons are the sole region owned by the Welsh Rugby Union but there are plans to return to private ownership.

Chairman David Buttress is leading a consortium to take control of the Rodney Parade region back from the governing body and had hoped to complete the deal by July.

Both Buttress and the WRU remain keen on the transaction but the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a delay.

"I would have liked to have completed everything ready for next season but that's not going to happen," admitted the chairman to the Argus in April.

"I've had a chat with the Union and they still want to sell while our intent hasn't changed, we want to take the Dragons private, but as private investors we need to know how the world is looking.

"That could be three months, it could be six months, it could be a year. It's all going to take a little bit longer.

"We are going to kick the can down the road, probably until the end of the year when things have hopefully settled down.”

The region was taken over by the Welsh Rugby Union in May 2017 in an agreement that saw the governing body buy Rodney Parade from Newport RFC.

The deal with the consortium would see the Dragons return to private ownership after signing a long-term lease, in excess of 100 years, for the use of the historic ground.