Sports

the sale of OL in five figures



► 800 million euros on the table

To buy the Lyon football club, the American group has put nearly 800 million euros on the table. The sum allows him to acquire the shares of Jean-Michel Aulas, who has controlled the club for thirty-five years, but also most of the stakes held since 1999 by Pathé (the group of Jérôme Seydoux) and since 2016 by the fund. Chinese investment company IDG capital.

With this purchase, the Eagle Capital fund continues to market itself in professional football. The group led by John Textor, who made his fortune in special effects and then the Internet, stood out in 2021 by becoming a shareholder in the English club Crystal Palace (Premier League). He then went on to take control of Brazil’s first division club Botafogo and then Belgian club Molenbeek.

► One share fell to €2.80

In 2007, OL was the first club to try the stock market adventure. Fifteen years later, the course is hardly flattering and the OL Group title has not proved to be a winning investment for the supporters who have invested in it.

The share enters the market at €24. A level that has since continued to crumble, and even collapse. From the first months, and despite the conquest of a 6th consecutive title of champion of France, the action fell. The following year, that of the 2008 financial crisis, it collapsed and fell below the €4 threshold in early 2019.

Since then, no lasting rebound has been recorded and the stock has only very rarely gone back above the €5 mark. At the last quotation before the sale, on October 18, the title was worth barely €2.80. Almost ten times less than his introductory course.

► A stadium at 500 million euros

In financial matters, OL have been more successful in real estate than in the stock market. The Lyon club is indeed one of the few in France to have its own ground since it decided to leave the Gerland stadium (owned by the City of Lyon) to take place in its own facilities.

Built between 2012 and 2015 at a cost of nearly 500 million euros, the Stade des Lumières, quickly renamed Groupama Stadium, for a fee, has a capacity of 60,000 seats. The third largest stadium in France, it is the flagship of a project that encompasses the club’s training center but also includes offices and leisure areas, restaurants and hotels.

► A turnover of 250 million euros

A commercial enterprise, the OL Group is in fragile health. Admittedly, its turnover rebounded well in the 2021-2022 financial year, posting a flattering growth of 42%. But this followed a season battered by the Covid-19, which ended with a record deficit of more than 100 million euros for the Lyon club.

For its last financial year, turnover therefore soared to reach 252 million euros. The sale of players weighs heavily in the balance, having brought in nearly 90 million for the club last season. In the end, if the losses are lower, they remain significant: 55 million euros.

► Ten years without a trophy for men

Hegemonic in the French championship in the 2000s, the Lyon club is currently in much less sporting form. Champions seven times consecutively between 2002 and 2008, the Gones have since run in vain behind their rivals. In recent years, they very rarely even play for the first places in the rankings. The latest trophies added to the club’s window are the Coupe de France and the 2012 Champions Trophy, ten years ago already.

On the other hand, the club has a much better fortune with its women’s section. This dominates the hexagonal championship. For fifteen years, OL players have missed only one French championship title, in 2021, when they finished second. They have also won the most prestigious European trophy twice, in 2019 and 2022.



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