Eagle Football has as promised bought a majority stake in French Ligue 1 soccer team Olympique Lyonnais (OL), the club announced on Monday, concluding a months-long back-and-forth between the two parties.
The investment fund belonging to American John Textor now holds 77.49% of OL on a non-diluted basis, and 86.57% in concert with Holnest on a fully-diluted basis, leading to a change in the board composition to reflect the new shareholding structure. “After four months of constructive negotiations … we are proud to reach this exceptional agreement,” Textor said in a statement.
The closure comes after several delays
to the purchase which was initially announced in July. Textor had said in early December that his Eagle Football Holding LLC would go through with the purchase of the club, confirming a week later that all consents that were necessary had been obtained, and related agreements signed.
As planned, the fund also subscribed to OL’s reserved capital increase for a total amount of 86 million euros ($91.34 million). Eagle Football will next file a simplified cash tender offer for the remaining shares and convertible bonds it does not own at a price of 3 euros per share and 265.57 euros per bond.
The billionaire investor has bought stakes in soccer clubs around the world, including Brazil’s Botafogo, Premier League Crystal Palace and Belgian second division side Molenbeek, with a plan to beat the system dominated by the big European clubs by developing young talent from North and South America. “Eagle Football … intends to quickly implement collaboration across its clubs notably in France, Brazil and Belgium, reliant on training and development methodologies of Olympique Lyonnais, a reference in the field,” Textor said.
He added that Jean-Michel Aulas, the club’s now previous owner, will be an independent director in Eagle Football. Lyon are eighth in Ligue 1 with 21 points from 15 games.
($1 = 0.9415 euros)
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