The US-led investment fund Eagle Football has bought a majority stake in Ligue 1 team Lyon, the club announced on Monday, concluding a months-long back-and-forth between the two parties.
The fund belonging to American John Textor now holds 77.49% of Lyon 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.
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« 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 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 Lyon’s reserved capital increase for a total amount of €86 million ($91.34m).
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 per share and €265.57 per bond.
Textor, a billionaire investor, has bought stakes in football clubs around the world, including Brazil’s Botafogo, Premier League side Crystal Palace and Belgian second division team 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, linking 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.