The club erase the previous record fee for the England player who will make his debut in Saturday evening's home clash with Manchester City in the Premier League.
Villa break the glass ceiling for Bent's transfer deal
Aston Villa have smashed their transfer record in signing Sunderland striker Darren Bent in a deal which could eventually be worth £24million (Dh120m).
Villa are splashing out an initial £18million for Bent but additional add-ons mean the final figure could rise by another £6million.
The England player is in line to make his debut in Saturday evening's home Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.
The four-and-a-half year deal was completed today after Bent agreed personal terms and passed a medical.
Bent's capture surpasses Villa's previous transfer record of £12million which was paid for James Milner (Newcastle) and Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) respectively.
The 26-year-old moved from Tottenham to the Stadium Of Light 18 months ago and scored 25 goals in his first season for the Black Cats.
Bent has been less prolific during the current campaign but has scored 81 Premier League goals in the last five seasons - a figure only bettered by Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney on 82 apiece.
Bent began his career with Ipswich a decade ago and also had a spell with Charlton before a £16.5million switch to Tottenham in 2007.
He spent two years at White Hart Lane before moving to Sunderland during the summer of 2009.
In total he has scored 128 league goals in 308 appearances.
Bent has won seven senior England caps and scored his first goal for his country during the Euro qualifier with Switzerland in Basle in September.
His signing will take Villa's potential spending in this transfer window close to the £30million mark after already signing Lyon midfielder Jean Makoun for £6million.
Villa boss Gerard Houllier is also still interested in Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam and is looking to bring in a new left-back.
Liverpool ready to offload Babel
Liverpool have accepted a bid from German club Hoffenheim for Dutch forward Ryan Babel.
The 24-year-old will now discuss personal terms with the Bundesliga club after travelling to Germany.
The Reds signed Babel in an £11.5m deal from Ajax in July 2007 but he has struggled to fulfil his potential in a frustrating time at Anfield.
He has made 146 outings for the club, with 81 coming as a substitute, and has scored 22 goals in the process.