Former LA Dodgers owner McCourt to buy Marseille

Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:04pm EDT
 
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By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) - Frank McCourt, former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, said on Monday he had entered exclusive negotiations to buy Olympique de Marseille and vowed to restore the club to their former glories.

Billionaire businesswoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the Russian-born chairwoman of Louis Dreyfus Commodities trading house, said in April she was looking for a buyer for the Ligue 1 side.

"Margarita and I just executed a contract for us to buy OM, the greatest football club in the French league and one of the best in the world," McCourt told a news conference alongside Louis-Dreyfus and Marseille mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin.

"I'm very excited about making Marseille a champion again,"

The deal is due to be completed by the end of the year, the two parties said. RMC Sport reported that the club had been sold for 40 million euros ($44.68 million).

Declining to give details on the sale, McCourt, who described himself as "very wealthy", told French sports newspaper L'Equipe he had bought the club as a long-term personal project and not to re-sell it like an investment fund.

"Football is becoming the most visible sport in the world. We see it through the World Cup, the (English) Premier League, which has created a fantastic business model," McCourt said.

"I think the future of French football can be excellent. I'm very optimistic on this."   Continued...

 
Olympique de Marseille's majority owner, billionaire businesswoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus (R) and Frank McCourt, former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, attend a news conference at Marseille city hall to announce McCourt had entered exclusive negotiations to buy the Club, France, August 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson