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Olympique Lyonnais goes under the American flag, Aulas remains at the …

American John Textor, who already controls several clubs such as Botafogo (Brazil) or Molenbeek (Belgian D2), confirmed on Monday that he would become OL’s main shareholder. An investment estimated at more than 600 million euros.

“Textor ticks all the boxes”, assured Jean-Michel Aulas, the club’s historic boss during a joint press conference with the businessman, specifying that he would keep his post as president “at least three years”.

“From the start, John wanted me to stay. It was not an absolute obligation”, said the one who has run the club for 35 years while the investor assured that he would not encroach on his “autonomy”. .

“Decision-making? He knows how to steer his boat. He is quite comfortable in this area,” insisted Mr. Textor before declining to comment on the future of coach Peter Bosz.

The transaction, validated by the board of directors on Monday, provides for a complete buyout of the stakes of Pathé and IDG (respectively 19.36% and 19.85% of the capital) by Eagle Football Holdings, as well as a gradual sale of Holnest. , the family holding company of Jean-Michel Aulas, which holds 27.72% of the group’s capital.

The American group, which also holds shares in the English club Crystal Palace, would therefore ultimately hold 66.56% of the capital, and even much more after the acquisition of part of the OSRANE (bonds redeemable in shares issued to finance the construction of the Groupama Stadium) held by the three entities.

The agreement also provides for “a capital increase” of 86 million euros, which will be “largely devoted to recruitment”, said Mr. Aulas.

The OL boss said he was approached by “five or six investors” before approaching John Textor. “We can be even more ambitious now,” he added, as OL are going through a bad sporting patch, with their worst ranking since 1997, which deprives them of the European Cup next season.

– Nearly 800 million euros –

Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas (right) and American billionaire John Textor at OL headquarters in Décines, June 21, 2022

OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE – AFP

For his part, the American obviously wanted to reassure during the press conference: “I am here as a resource”, he stressed several times. “OL have an incredible balance not only in sport but also in entertainment”, especially with their future Arena, which will be inaugurated in 2023, he boasted.

The group “is a brand known everywhere, it’s the twentieth club in the world, I don’t see why I would come and change everything”, assured this 56-year-old investor, remaining however rather vague about his plans for the future of the club. .

OL Groupe, the holding company which oversees the club, had requested on Monday the suspension of its listing on the Paris Stock Exchange. The action was then worth 3.07 euros, up more than 50% since January 1, boosted by the sales process, despite a slight inflection before the suspension.

MM Jean-Michel Aulas and John Textor show their complicity after the announcement of the sale of the Lyon club, June 21, 2022 in Décines

MM Jean-Michel Aulas and John Textor show their complicity after the announcement of the sale of the Lyon club, June 21, 2022 in Décines

OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE – AFP

Jean-Michel Aulas, boss since 1987 of a club he has guided to seven consecutive L1 titles (2002-2008) and two Champions League semi-finals (2010, 2020), announced on Monday that he had entered into negotiations exclusive agreements with John Textor for the future of the group valued at 798 million euros.

For comparison, Italian club AC Milan was recently valued at 1.2 billion euros.

– Small surprise –

American businessman John Textor now majority shareholder of OL, June 21, 2022 in Décines

American businessman John Textor now majority shareholder of OL, June 21, 2022 in Décines

OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE – AFP

John Textor 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 18% of the shares of Crystal Palace last August and is a shareholder of this club in the southern suburbs of London playing in the Premier League alongside another American, David Blitzer, candidate according to L’Equipe for the acquisition of Saint -Etienne, OL’s historical rival. 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.

OL thus becomes the 11th French club to be bought by foreign investors.

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).

By Francois-Jean TIXIER / Lyon (AFP) / © 2022 AFP

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