OL soon under the American flag

Info RMC Sport – The soap opera around the takeover of OL is progressing: there are now three (American) offers left of the five that the club has received. It is a matter of buying back 40% of the capital. Jean-Michel Aulas remains in charge.

The OL acquisition file is still ongoing and options are being refined. According to our information, the Lyon club has received five offers. Three remain in the race today, all American. It concerns the purchase of 40% of the capital of Olympique Lyonnais: the shares of Pathé and IDG, for sale since March 8, and the marketing, via a press release, by these two reference shareholders of their respective shares (19.36 for Pathé and 19.85 for IDG). With a large financial offer that allows Lyon to benefit from a large margin of maneuver for its future investments.

Gillett not on pole

Among the three offers would be Foster Gillett’s, even if this option is not on pole. Originally from Colorado, the 45-year-old is the son of George Gillett, who owned Liverpool from 2007 to October 2010. During this period Foster Gillett was director of the English club. The family had sold its shares in October 2010 after disagreements with other shareholders. He was also the general manager of Booth Creek Management Corporation in Colorado, a ski resort management company, and was also involved with a NASCAR team, Richard Petty Motorsports, until 2010. Gillett was also in talks with the owners a few months ago. from Derby County to take over the club, who have just been relegated to League One (British Third Division).

An American pension fund, close to the basketball world and the NBA, is very interested in Tony Parker’s presence at OL. This offer would be very well placed compared to the others. Negotiations are underway and the process promises to be quite lengthy.

A name that was regularly filtered for a few days: John Textor. He had also confirmed in the podcast “Off the pitch” that he wanted to expand his network from Botafogo and Molenbeek or Crystal Palace. Without mentioning OL, all eyes were on this club. He did a good tour of the stadium.

Aulas is not going away

Jean-Michel Aulas, the boss of Olympique Lyonnais, is currently in the maneuver. And he himself admitted it during a meeting of the professional football league via video conference, justifying his physical absence by the fact that he is in “the final phase of the sale of club shares”. The current OL chairman will not leave once the file is closed. Legally, Jean-Michel Aulas is required to take charge for between four and seven years.

The amount of the transaction is unknown at this time. We can imagine that this is a significant amount, because in 2016, when the Chinese group IDG bought 20% of the club against a check for 100 million euros, the valuation of OL Group was 500 million.

Jean-Michel Aulas, a priority in the negotiations for future governance, has always had in mind to carry out the same operation as in 1999, when the Pathé group entered the club for 100 million francs, leaving power to whoever OL took over in the second division in 1987. The whole point of the current negotiations is to bring in fresh money while maintaining control. Since that date, 27.72% of the group is owned by Holnest – the family office of Jean Michel Aulas – 19.36% by Pathé and 19.86% by IDG. More than 33% is distributed among small shareholders, not counting other small holdings of historical Lyon personalities.

An attractive global project for an American businessman

The club has certainly suffered from the pandemic and has incurred significant PGE, but its material assets (Groupama stadium, Décines training center, Academy in Meyzieu and related trade, US women’s football franchise with OL Reign, participation in the male and female ASVEL…) is growing, especially with the future LDLC Arena, whose funding was recently cut. With its recurring revenue in terms of concerts, ASVEL Euroleague matches and “esports” gatherings, OL is attractive to an American businessman with a repeat of sports business and entertainment. Not to mention the seminars. If the sale is close to 40% of Pathé and IDG’s ‘historic’ shares in the beginning, it could become even more important and exceed 50%. The club, for its part, declined to comment.