February 17 – American investment company Pacific Media Group (PMG) has acquired a majority stake in struggling Belgian top-flight club KV Oostende.
After months of negotiations, PMG has procured a 70% stake in the seaside club and will immediately inject €2.7 million. The investment group also has stakes in Swiss side FC Thun and Barnsley.
As minority shareholder, Frank Dierckens will remain the club’s chairman to ensure Oostende’s local character. “I will mainly focus on the extra-sportive in that role, operational policy,” said Dierckens. “In the meantime, I am already busying myself with that. We will look internally where we can make further adjustments to decrease the general cost structure. KVO deserves a healthy, tailor-made policy without megalomaniac decisions.”
In 2017, former owner Marc Coucke left Oostende for Anderlecht and ever since the club has been struggling financially, owning Coucke €6.2 million, labouring under a skewed salary structure, stadium rent, and an operational deficit of €9.6 million in the 2018-2019 season.
The arrival of the new owners will alleviate some of the financial pressure burdening the club, but on the field Oostende are entangled in a relegation battle with both Waasland-Beveren and Cercle Brugge. With four games remaining in the season, Oostende, on 21 points, have four points more than red lantern Cercle Brugge and one more than Waasland-Beveren.
As with their other club investments, the new investors have promised a data-driven approach to improve results on the field.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1585575104labto1585575104ofdlr1585575104owedi1585575104sni@t1585575104catno1585575104c1585575104