The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted the proposed sale of Chelsea Football Club last week. But Chelsea is not the only club up for grabs.
On the other side of the English Channel, majority stake owners of top French soccer club Olympique Lyonnais are looking to sell the club to the highest bidder, people told Sportico. They were granted anonymity because the matter is private.
Pathé, the world’s largest film equipment and production company, and IDG Capital have appointed global sports and media merchant bank Raine Group to manage the potential sale. Pathé and IDG own 33.53% and 19.96% of the shares, respectively.
Raine and Olympique de Lyon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Founded in 1950, Olympique Lyonnais won France’s top league for seven consecutive seasons through 2008, and participated in the UEFA Champions League 17 times, reaching the semifinals of the competitions in 2009-2010 season and again 2019-2020.
Over the last decade, the club’s player transfers have generated revenue of $439 million (€398 million). One of those lucrative transfers was Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who began his career in the club and has signed a then-record-breaking deal with Real Madrid for $38 million (€35 million) in 2009.
The “Les Gones” (kids in French) also have built 59,286 seat Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, for the Euro 2016 tournament at a cost of roughly $611 million (€600 million).
In 2017 the club signed a three-year deal with French insurance giant Groupama reportedly worth between $5.3 million to $7.4 million per year for naming rights to the stadium. That agreement was extended at the end of 2020 and now runs through the end of this season.
The club also reported progress on their $155 million (€141 million) OL Valley Arena construction project. The venue is built as a multipurpose arena for sports and entertainment and is scheduled to open in late 2023. The team recently signed a non-exclusive, 15-year commercial agreement with Live Nation.
Brendan Coffey contributed to this report.
(The article has been updated in the fifth paragraph to correct the number of consecutive championships the team won through 2008.)