While he should be presented this Tuesday at a press conference, John Textor will buy a large part of OL. Even if he keeps Jean-Michel Aulas in the organization chart, the American is not the type to watch his team’s performance from afar and does not hesitate to get involved a lot.
On June 15, 1987, Jean-Michel Aulas, pushed in particular by Bernard Tapie, became president of Olympique Lyonnais. Thirty-five years later, OL are preparing to change era, and potentially dimension. After months of discussions and negotiations, the Lyon board of directors finally set its sights on John Textor regarding the buyout of the shares of IDG (19.74%) and Pathé (19.26%). But also all of the shares held by Holnest, the company of Jean-Michel Aulas. As specified by the press release published by Lyon this Monday night, Eagle Football, Textor’s company, “would therefore hold, following these acquisitions (but before the capital increase and the reimbursement of the OSRANE sold), 66.56% of the share capital” , and would become the majority shareholder. After the reimbursement of the OSRANE (bonds redeemable in new or existing shares), the American will even hold 80.13% of OL Groupe. With this takeover, Lyon estimates its value at 798 million euros, and 884 million when the businessman will inject 86 million euros into the capital, as promised.
What about Aulas?
With such an operation, Jean-Michel Aulas loses almost all financial power within his club. But it’s not the old monkey that you teach to make faces, and the emblematic president of OL should still stay in his seat for a little while, since his “term of CEO would be renewed for at least 3 years, and with the support of the entire current management team and the company’s executive committee, which would remain unchanged” . Aulas would also join the management of Eagle Football, in order to “to support its development and that of all the clubs in which Eagle Football has a stake” . This is not John Textor’s first attempt with OL. Passionate about soccer, he launched the FC Florida academy in 2008, but had to wait almost fifteen years to attack the European market.
Simplemente o dono do Botafogo, John Textor, em uma despedida de solteiro, em uma boate no Rio de Janeiro do entretenimento pic.twitter.com/lpGExEX5Ru
— TNT Sports Brasil (@TNTSportsBR) May 15, 2022
It was only in the spring of 2021 that he came knocking on the door of clubs looking for new shareholders. If Newcastle, Brentford, Watford then Benfica have in turn rejected his advances, Crystal Palace has accepted his entry into the capital in the summer of 2021, up to 40%. But the former skateboarding champion still had a big craving. In January 2022, he bought 90% of Botafogo, in Brazil, and, still not satisfied, he took over 80% of RWD Molenbeek (Belgian D2) in the same week. It is therefore in Rio de Janeiro that Textor has the most power, at least as much as he should have between Rhône and Saône.
“Today I have more money than Barcelona. » John Textor
The example of Botafogo
At the edge of the Atlantic, the American quickly knew how to conquer his new supporters. “Botafogo is a very big club at international level, but which has gone through decades of misery. Textor arrived in April, and in the first transfer window we were the Brazilian club that spent the most money, 70 million reais (13 million euros). To give you an idea, Botafogo didn’t have the money to spend even a million before John, so that was a big difference! » , explains Bernardo Wettreich, a fan of the Brazilian club. Financially, he therefore wants to be reassuring, even teasing. In February 2022, barely arrived, when he announced his intention to attract Edinson Cavani to the carioca club, a journalist told him that Barça would also be on the file. To which he responds: “Today I have more money than Barcelona. » In some ways, he might have similar character traits to Aulas. Very active on Twitter, he is thus capable of fantastic outings, which reflect his passion for this sport and the club he governs. “He created a strong relationship with Botafogo supporters. He went to games, he brought flags, he cried on the pitch. He has a lot of emotions.” insists Bernardo Wettreich.
Simplemente John Textor agitando a torcida com a bandeira do Botafogo! pic.twitter.com/8Cp94egJoa
— Olé do Brasil (@Oledobrasil) May 15, 2022
But beyond money and passion, the man who made his fortune in new technologies (he won an Oscar in 2009 in the category of best visual effects) and in streaming seems to be a man of projects. “My plan is to create an ecosystem of high-level cooperative clubs that will benefit from sharing a global talent identification footprint. As I continue to be concerned that the dominance of state teams and other wealthy clubs is detrimental to community run club football, I simply hope to demonstrate that alternative approaches to competitiveness need to be explored and encouraged » he told CBS Sports this Monday. Training is something that seems at the center of his project since he intends to make Botafogo the best Brazilian nursery, and he has created a scout section that did not yet exist at the club. And if the OL Groupe became the competitor of the City Group?
By Leo Peat
Words by Bernardo Wettreich recorded by LT.