When MacFarlane bailed two years later amid financial troubles, Chang kept the club afloat until Thohir’s group bought into the club in 2012. Thohir’s partners include Indonesian businessman Handy Soetedjo and Washington-based sports executive Jason Levien.
As Thohir expanded his imprint on the organization and pursued a stadium project at Buzzard Point, Chang faded from the public eye. Negotiations over his departure accelerated this summer. With an emotional connection to the soccer team, Chang was said to be torn about cutting ties. A deal, however, was struck in recent weeks, first reported by Bloomberg on Monday.
“We would like to thank Will and the Chang family for their critical contributions to this club for nearly 10 years,” Levien, United’s managing general partner, said in a written statement. “We were pleased to partner with them.”
In an email reply, Chang said he did not want to comment. He is chairman of Westlake International Group, a global investment company, and a co-owner of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
The consolidation of United’s investment group comes as the team looks to break ground on a new stadium at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in Southwest, three blocks from Nationals Park and adjacent to Fort McNair.
The city, which committed $150 million toward the project in land acquisition and infrastructure efforts, transferred the property to the club Oct. 1. Thohir and his partners will end up spending around $200 million on the venue, which is scheduled to open no earlier than June 2018 and will hold at least 19,000 spectators.
The move to buy out Chang comes three months after Levien and Steve Kaplan, vice chairman of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, bought a controlling stake in Premier League club Swansea City. It also falls in the same year that Thohir freed up additional resources by relinquishing his majority ownership of Italian club Inter Milan.
Forbes values United at $155 million, 13th among 20 MLS teams. The Seattle Sounders are first at $285 million. United’s value is expected to rise with the completion of the stadium.