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Soccer. “The value of a club depends on its owner”: an economist deciphers the takeover of FC Lorient

The owner of FC Lorient Loïc Fery has just announced the entry into the capital of the American billionaire Bill Foley up to 40%, with a contribution of 10 M€. Does that mean that this club is only worth €25m?

As in any transaction, it is up to the seller to decide the price. The value of a football club depends on its owner. It is assessed in proportion to its turnover, but also to its prize list, its equipment and its player assets. But €25m doesn’t seem like much if we refer to the €70m mentioned for the sale of SCO Angers, which is not the owner of its stadium either. We can only estimate the value of a club at the time of a sale, as recently for Newcastle (bought 80% for $440 million in 2021) or Manchester City (10% for $480 million in 2019).

Can this contribution of €10m be included in the record sale (€25m + €5m bonus) of Dango Ouattara in Bournemouth, bought last year by Bill Foley?

No, because we are talking here about a transfer of income, which does not enter into the capital of the club. But the arrival of a new investor can facilitate this kind of transaction. Timeshare and the arrival of new American investors are a major trend, which has accelerated since the covid-19 pandemic. It already concerns about 90 clubs in Europe today.

What are the challenges of this new economic model for a club like Lorient?

It’s hard to know today. The risk is that the new shareholder will use the training of Lorient to promote players in Bournemouth. And that the mid-table teams of the French championship become satellite clubs. But FC Lorient can also take advantage of it to develop and attract new profiles. This is what some big clubs also do.

Do you understand the fears of Lorient supporters?

Yes, because there is also a risk for FC Lorient in terms of image and identity. But this kind of multiclub models can allow FC Lorient to promote certain young players who find little playing time in Ligue 1, as we have seen this season at Paris SG.

Does the arrival of a new shareholder announce the upcoming sale of the club?

It’s a clue. Loïc Fery is a financier, not a patron. And it remains difficult to make a profit in football. It is all the more astonishing to see all these American investors thus landing in the clubs of Western Europe. But €10m isn’t much for a billionaire like Bill Foley. And he can also withdraw his balls at any time, as we saw at the Girondins de Bordeaux with the departure of the King Street investment fund in 2021.

All the news from FC Lorient

letelegramme Fr Trans

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