US investor Textor closes in on majority control of Ligue 1’s Lyon

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June 21 – John Textor and Eagle Football Holdings is on the verge of acquiring a majority stake in French top club Olympique Lyon. The American already has stakes in Brazil’s Botafogo, Belgium’s RWD Molenbeek and England’s Crystal Palace. 

On Monday, the French club confirmed that they had opened exclusive talks with Textor.  The club had previously been in negotiation with US businessman Foster Gillett but with those talks stalled, the door has opened for Textor.

A takeover by Textor would mark the end of the long reign of Jean-Michel Aulas, the current owner and club president. Aulas is expected to retain a holding at the Ligue 1 giants and remain at the Groupama Stadium.

“Olympique Lyonnais will be the cornerstone of our project. I intend, with the support of Jean-Michel and his teams, to bring out the values ​​of development and self-improvement for which I have always been committed,” Textor told Lyon’s club website.

Aulas added: “With this project, Olympique Lyonnais is opening a new chapter in its formidable history. For 35 years, my desire has always been to make Olympique Lyonnais a unique model in football, combining sporting and economic success.

“Our professional football and basketball teams, OL Reign, our mixed Academy, Groupama Stadium, as well as the construction of the new LDLC Arena within OL Vallee are already strong markers of OL Groupe’s ambitions,” continued Aulas.

“The sudden departure of (shareholders) Pathe and IDG nevertheless allowed the arrival of John Textor, capable of accompanying and supporting these same ambitions. This new shareholder will be an accelerator for our current and future projects.”

Olympique Lyon would be the fourth club in Textor’s portfolio.  Textor acquired majority stakes in Botafogo for an estimated $60 million and RWD Molenbeek. Last year, Textor paid £87.5 million for an 18% stake in Crystal Palace.

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