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change of era in sight at OL, exclusive negotiations with Textor

In search of new partners, Olympique Lyonnais announced Monday to enter into exclusive negotiations with the American businessman John Textor, already owner of several football teams, to become the new majority shareholder of the club historically led by Jean-Michel Aulas.

After 35 years of Aulas presidency, OL seem close to shifting into a new era with the possible entry into the capital of Textor, already majority shareholder of Botafogo (Brazil), Molenbeek (Belgian D2) and present in the capital of Crystal Palace (England ).

If these negotiations are successful, Textor would buy the shares of the Pathé group and the Chinese investment fund IDG, which together represent nearly 40% of the group’s shares.

This businessman, specializing in particular in online sports broadcasting, special effects and images of celebrities in virtual reality, would take control of the club, with the objective of bringing it back to the top after a disappointing season .

“Seen from the United States, OL is the ideal platform for making football a success story” reacted in a statement released Monday evening Textor, who wishes to allow the club to “find the highest level, in France and in Europe, while respecting the values ​​of OL’s DNA”.

Jean-Michel Aulas (73), boss since 1987 of a club he has guided to seven consecutive L1 titles (2002-2008) and two Champions League semi-finals (2010, 2020), had indicated he ten days ago he intended to complete the file by Thursday, June 23.

“With this project, Olympique Lyonnais is opening a new chapter in its formidable history”, he rejoiced in turn. According to OL’s press release, Aulas and the club’s management team should remain in place after the transaction.

– new money –

Before the Monday afternoon meeting of a board of directors devoted to negotiations, OL Groupe, the holding company overseeing the Lyon club, had requested the suspension of its listing on the Paris Stock Exchange. A share was then worth 3.07 euros, up more than 50% since January 1, boosted by the sales process.

The choice of Textor (56) is a small surprise, while his compatriot Foster Gillett, former manager of Liverpool when his father George controlled the club, has long been a favorite according to several media.

But Textor seemed to present more financial guarantees, according to RMC Sport.

The American co-founded FuboTv, a streaming service focused on broadcasting live sporting events. In 2013, he also launched Pulse Evolution, a company that develops holograms used to organize concerts of deceased singers.

Then he has made a remarkable push in the world of football in recent months.

Textor acquired last August 18% of the shares of Crystal Palace, a club in the southern suburbs of London playing in the Premier League… and is in the capital alongside another American, David Blitzer, candidate according to L’Equipe for the takeover of Saint-Etienne, the historic rival of OL. According to the press release from the Lyon club, he currently owns 40% of the capital of the London club.

Then, in January, Textor took over 90% of the capital of Botafogo, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil, and 80% of the shares of RWD Molenbeek, which aims to return to the elite of Belgian football.

The American businessman should, condition set by Aulas (73) to hand over, leave the emblematic president in charge for a transition period.

And “JMA” also posed as a prerequisite the injection of fresh money to strengthen the first team, which is coming out of a disappointing season (8th in Ligue 1).

“The main information is that we will have the means for our ambition and that I will be present as CEO for the future”, assured Aulas on June 9.

– bad pass –

Textor’s interest in OL confirms in any case the attractiveness of French football, several clubs of which have been bought by foreign investors in recent years.

L1: change of era in sight at OL, exclusive negotiations with Textor

The announcement of the upcoming change of shareholders comes as OL are going through a bad sporting patch, with their worst ranking since 1997, which deprives them of the European Cup next season.

Jean-Michel Aulas has been at the head of OL since June 1987, when the club founded in 1950 was languishing in the 2nd division.

Under his presidency, the team returned to D1 in 1989, and regained the European Cup in 1991, before beginning its most glorious period in the 2000s and 2010s.

Organized around Olympique Lyonnais, OL Groupe is a major player in the entertainment and media sector in France. This holding company controls OL’s women’s and men’s teams, Groupama Stadium (nearly 60,000 seats), the American women’s football franchise OL Reign and nearly a third of the capital of the Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne basketball club. (Elite).


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