The French club Lorient announced, on Friday, that American businessman Bill Foley, who recently bought the English Premier League club Bournemouth, has acquired a stake in the French club Lorient.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but in an interview with Ouest France daily, Loïc Ferry, the club’s owner and president since 2009, spoke of a capital increase of 10 million euros ($10.8 million).
“The new shareholder will receive 40% of the share capital no later than this summer,” said Ferry.
The deal was concluded with Foley and his partners Black Knight Football and Entertainment Group (BKFE), who in December bought 100% of Bournemouth’s shares.
Foley, 77, owns the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey franchise
Lorient returned to Ligue 1 in 2020 and after struggling for two years they have had encouraging results this season under new coach Regis Lobris and are now sixth.
“We will not play in the Champions League because we have a new player,” said Ferry. However, strengthening our capital and our shareholders will allow us to benefit from good results. »
An Air Force veteran, Foley made his fortune in finance and through investments in wine, hospitality, and sports.
He was one of the investors who gathered to help John Texture take over French club Lyon, but the banks refused his share of the financing.
According to many British media, Foley’s participation in the Briton club is the first step in a long-term takeover.
However, Ferry insisted he wanted to remain the majority shareholder until 2026, the club’s centenary.
“This is not a withdrawal on my part, but a strategy to strengthen the club’s capital,” he said, insisting that Lorient would not become a “sub-team of Bournemouth”.
“Obviously we will have synergies to develop, particularly in terms of training and marketing and also possibly the gates that allow some of our players to join the Premier League if everyone agrees to the plan,” he said.
This wouldn’t necessarily reassure fans who feared seeing Brittany lose her identity.
But London-based Ferry said there was the same fear when he arrived.
“The connection with the people of Lorient and the spirit of the Hicks family remains etched in the rock,” he added.