OL officially goes under the American flag
The 2022-2023 Ligue 1 season will start on Saturday August 6 with three clubs majority-owned by American shareholders: after Marseille (Frank McCourt) and Toulouse (RedBird Capital Partners), Lyon went under the star-spangled banner on Monday June 20. Businessman John Textor is the new owner of shares in the Pathé group and the Chinese investment fund IDG.
Jean-Michel Aulas, chairman since June 1987, was until then the majority shareholder via his family holding Holnest, which holds 27.72% of the capital. The 73-year-old announced at the beginning of the month his desire to remain in charge of the club after the operation, which he wanted to be completed by June 23.
Textor (56 years old), in particular specialized in the broadcasting of sports online, had already acquired last August 18% of the shares of Crystal Palace, a club from the southern suburbs of London playing in the Premier League. Then in January he took over 90% of the capital of Botafogo, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil, and 80% of the shares of RWD Molenbeek, which aims to return to the elite of Belgian football.
John Textor is therefore preparing to become the club’s majority shareholder, since Eagle Football will first hold 66.56% of OL Groupe’s share capital, then potentially 88.55% after reimbursement of the OSRANEs (subordinated bonds redeemable in new shares or existing). The press release also specifies that the mandate of CEO of Jean-Michal Aulas will be renewed for « at least three years ».
No Europe next season
Seven times crowned champion of France consecutively between 2001 and 2008, OL remain in 8th place in the league, after two exercises concluded in 7th and 4th place. He will not play in the European Cup next season for the second time in three years. Despite mixed results, Dutch coach Peter Bosz was retained.
In addition, the Lyon club got off to a strong start in its summer transfer window with the return home of Alexandre Lacazette. At the end of his contract with Arsenal, the 31-year-old striker signed for three seasons with his training club, five years after being transferred to England. His return had been « a priority for several months » for OL, which aims « to breathe new life into it ».