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Ligue 1 – OL in “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 entering 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 to make football a success story” reacted in a statement released Monday evening Textor, who wants 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 the press release from OL, Aulas and the club’s management team are expected to remain in place following the transaction.

Fresh 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 Sportst.

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” has also made it a prerequisite to inject 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 of 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. 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 moved up 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).

Press release from OL:

John Textor, a major player in the world of technology, through his holding company Eagle Football Holdings LLC, has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire the following stakes in OL Groupe: all of the shares and 50% of the OSRANE (subordinated bonds redeemable in new or existing shares) held by Holnest, the holding company and family office of Jean-Michel Aulas, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of OL Groupe and all the shares and OSRANEs held by Pathé, SOJER and OJEJ ( companies related to Jérôme Seydoux, collectively “Pathé”) and IDG European Sports Investment Limited (“IDG Capital”).

Eagle Footbal is a US company incorporated to bring together the interests and interests of Mr. Textor and Mr. Jamie Salter in leading football clubs around the world. In particular, Mr. Textor currently has an approximate 40% stake in Crystal Palace Football Club of the English Premier League, an 80% stake in Racing White Daring Molenbeek of the Belgian Pro League 1B, and a 90% stake in % in the Botafogo Futebol Club of the Brazilian Serie A.

In this context, OL Groupe today held a meeting of its Board of Directors, which welcomed these developments and authorized the management of OL Groupe to participate in exclusive negotiations with Eagle Football, Holnest, Pathé and IDG Capital.

The objective of these negotiations will be to finalize the detailed terms of the agreement in principle reached today, which includes the following elements:

The strengthening of the financial structure of OL Groupe, which would benefit from a reserved capital increase of around 86 million euros (issue premium included) at the price of 3 euros per share (the “Capital Increase”) equal to the price per OL Groupe share paid in connection with the Acquisition of the Blocks (the Capital Increase and the Acquisition Blocks together constituting the “Operation”). Eagle would subscribe to the Capital Increase reserved in full concurrently with the Acquisition of the Blocks. The proceeds from the capital increase would be used to make significant investments, particularly in sports teams, as well as in infrastructure. The capital increase would be subject to the approval of the extraordinary general meeting of OL Groupe shareholders which would be convened for this purpose. This general meeting should be held in principle before July 31, 2022. Holnest, Pathé and IDG Capital have committed to vote in favor of this transaction.

The continuation of OL Groupe’s strategy, under the leadership of Jean-Michel Aulas, whose mandate as CEO would be renewed for at least 3 years, and with the support of the entire current management team and the Company’s Executive Committee, which would remain unchanged. Jean-Michel Aulas would also join the management of Eagle Football i to support its development and that of all the clubs in which Eagle Football holds a stake.

– The continued presence of Holnest on the board of directors of OL Groupe with 2 seats for directors and 4 seats for observers without voting rights for at least 3 years.

The rest of the press release

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