Lyon announced an agreement for American businessman John Textor, owner of Sociedade Anônima do Futebol do Botafogo, to be the majority shareholder of the club. He will acquire 66.5% of the total share and, in the future, may have up to 88.55%. The total investment of the business was not disclosed, but the statement says that the current value of the club is 798 million euros (R$ 4.3 billion).
The billionaire is expected to invest 86 million euros (R$ 469 million) in the team. The transaction provides that the Eagle Football Holdings, a Textor company, acquires the shares of Pathe SAS and IDG Capital. He would later own a stake in Holnest, a company owned by Jean-Michel Aulas’ family, who has owned Lyon since 1987.
Aulas, however, will remain as executive director (CEO) of Lyon for the next three seasons. He will also assume a management role at Eagle Football Holdings. The French leader and John Textor will give a press conference this Tuesday.
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John Textor, owner of Botafogo football, will be Lyon’s majority shareholder — Photo: Jorge Rodrigues/AGIF
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John Textor stated that Lyon will be the “epicenter” of his football project.
“The project I discovered in Lyon with Jean-Michel Aulas and all his teams will be at the epicenter of our new organization and our investments in the service of world football. Lyon will be the cornerstone of our project,” said Textor.
– With the support of Jean-Michel and his teams, I intend to bring to light the values of development and self-improvement that I have always been committed to. I want to give all fans of Olympique de Lyon the additional means so that the institution can recover at the highest level, in France and in Europe, respecting the values of OL’s DNA, such as youth, work, self-sacrifice and that spirit that allows all talent from around the world to have access to the highest level thanks to our involvement in the academies. Seen from the United States, OL is the ideal platform to make football a success story – added the American.
Jean-Michel Aulas, who will continue as Lyon president for the next three years, celebrated the deal.
– With this project, Lyon is opening a new chapter in its formidable history. For 35 years, my desire has always been to make Lyon a unique model in football, combining sporting and economic success.
John Textor, 56, is an American businessman with a media business. He was an executive at Digital Domain, a special effects company that worked on several films. He bought the Crystal Palace stake in August for €103 million. His offer of 50 million euros for 25% of Benfica ended up not succeeding.
The entrepreneur started his career as a programmer. After Digital Domain, he founded and was CEO of fuboTV, a US-based streaming company focused on sports distribution and general entertainment. The IPO (public offering) of fuboTV on the New York Stock Exchange generated a valuation of US$ 8 billion (about R$ 45 billion) in October 2020.
Forbes magazine ranked Textor in 2016 as “Hollywood’s virtual reality guru”. He is known for advocating the marriage of media and technology.
Textor now expands its zone of influence in football. He already owns a 40% stake in Premier League’s Crystal Palace, where he sits on the board, controls 90% of Botafogo and 80% of Belgium’s RWD Molenbeek.