The formalization of the sale of OL Groupe, the holding company which oversees Olympique Lyonnais (Ligue 1 football), to American billionaire John Textor has been postponed until October 21, the group citing technical steps to be finalized.
This additional time will be used to finalize the legal documentation and the last steps prior to the completion of the operation
", explains a press release from OL Groupe received by AFP on Friday evening about this takeover valued at nearly 800 million euros, and which was initially expected on September 30.
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In the morning, the group announced the postponement of the operation "
in the next few days
", ensuring that the sale remained on track.
On Friday, the OL Groupe share fell 0.35% on the Paris Stock Exchange, to be fixed at 2.82 euros at the close.
On Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter told AFP that the closing operation was taking its course and warned that an announcement delayed for a few days could not be ruled out, as can sometimes happen in transactions of this volume.
Read alsoLigue 1: expected outcome between OL and American billionaire Textor
The date of September 30 was initially brought forward for information purposes in a prospectus sent to shareholders after the Extraordinary General Meeting of OL Groupe on July 29.
The completion of the operation should take place from September 2022 and in any event during the second half of 2022. The capital increase should be completed during the summer.
The closing of the offer could take place during the fourth quarter of 2022
”, it was also stipulated in the press release published on July 8 after the signing of the contract relating to the acquisition conditions.
Through Eagle Football Holdings LLC, John Textor is to acquire all of the shares and half of the Osranes (bonds convertible into shares to finance the construction of the Groupama stadium) held by Holnest -the holding company of the Aulas family-, plus the all shares and Osranes held by Pathé (Jérôme Seydoux) and the Chinese investment fund IDG Capitals.
Holnest holds 27.72% of the capital.
Pathé and IDG, which have 19.36% and 19.85% respectively, announced on March 9 that they wanted to sell their shares by mandating the Raine bank to do so.
However, to finance the operation, Textor, which must initially take 79% of the shares against 8% for Holnest, is not coming alone.
The American businessman relied on investors like James Salter (owner of around thirty brands like Reebok and Sports illustrated) and Bill Foley (owner of the Las Vegas ice hockey club).
John Textor is already present in the capital of the London club Crystal Palace and majority shareholder of Botafogo, in Brazil, and RWD Molenbeek (2nd Belgian div.).
Ares as backup
Recent doubts had been raised in the media, especially after Foley's share of financing was refused by the banks.
But a very powerful new investor has entered into the takeover.
This is Ares Credit Group, one of the four units of the American alternative investment company Ares Management Corporation, which in 2021 took a stake in Atlético Madrid.
We must not let people think that things could not be done.
The signed agreement is a firm agreement with no conditions precedent from the beginning.
(…) Nothing raises questions
, ”repeated Jean-Michel Aulas in an interview with the Team on September 20.
The agreement also provides for a capital increase of EUR 86 million intended for debt reduction and, for another part, for the sports sector, approved by the EGM in July.
Subsequently, Eagle Football and Holnest, which would ultimately remain the only two shareholders of OL Groupe, will launch a takeover bid by November on the remaining shares at a price of three euros per share and 265.57 euros per Osrane.
At the end of the process, OL, seven times champion of France, will become the eleventh French club bought by a foreign investor, even if Jean-Michel Aulas, at the head of the club since 1987, will remain executive president within the framework of a contract of three years.
A flagship of spectator sports in France, OL Groupe controls OL's women's and men's teams, the American women's football club OL Reign and a third of the capital of the Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne basketball club.
The company owns the Groupama Stadium and is involved in the construction of a 12,000-seat multi-purpose Arena on the OL Vallée site, the inauguration of which is scheduled for the fall of 2023.