OL Groupe, the listed company of the Lyon football club will soon take on the Yankee accent. Jean-Michel Aulas had announced it. The procedure is underway through an “exclusive negotiation”. The president of Olympique Lyonnais is preparing to sell Olympique Lyonnais to the American John Textor who should, barring a last-minute reversal, soon own almost all of the group’s shares. After fifteen years of listing, OL will leave the Stock Exchange where it is true, it did not shine. In the process, the procedure for delisting should be initiated by the end of the year…
Fifteen years of stock market prices
That day, February 8, 2007, symbolically, in the basket room of the CCI of Lyon, Jean-Michel Aulas introduced the prestigious Lyon club on the stock market. The only French club to enter the stock market. Not a little proud: the introductory course was in line with this innovation in the world of sports business in France: 24 euros. The demand for shares exceeds the supply six times!
This fifteen-year long stock market adventure is about to end following the takeover of Club Lyonnais by the American John Textor, the next owner of OL Groupe via his holding company Eagle Football.
The fairly complex takeover operation will allow Eagle Football, John Textor’s company, to acquire all the shares held by the French Pathé, the Chinese IDG Capital and Holnest, the family holding company of Jean-Michel Aulas. These three shareholders represent respectively 19.26%, 19.74% and 27.56% of OL Groupe’s share capital.
This means that the American entrepreneur, who already owns several football clubs, will hold 66.56% of the capital of the Lyon company, at a price of 3 euros per share.
But Eagle Football will also have to buy back all of the OSRANEs (bonds redeemable in new or existing shares) held by Pathé and IDG Capital as well as 50% of the OSRANEs held by Holnest. This will ultimately lead the US group to own 89% of the capital, drastically reducing the “float” on the stock market.
At this stage, there will only be one possibility: delisting, probably in the 4th quarter after fifteen years of presence on the stock market.
Only stock market adventure of a Football Club in France
It is true that, if we look back on this past, this single stock market adventure of a football club in France turned out to be rather disappointing.
Buyers of OL shares did not make a fortune.
Considered already high at the time at 24 euros, the OL share price never exceeded this bar, rather dragging itself to the floor, even if taking advantage of the speculation surrounding the possible sale of the club, the title soared in recent weeks and still quoted above the price offered on the day of the announcement of the offer, before plunging back somewhat.
“The glorious uncertainty of sport”
The flamboyant Louis Thannberger, king of “intros” on the stock market at the time and adviser to Jean-Michel Aulas, then declared: “The OL product means that the group no longer depends solely on sports results. Today sold at 24 euros, the action will be worth 48 in two years!’ »
However, two years after its IPO, the OL Groupe was already in reality worth only 8 euros…
The fall then continued: fifteen years later, the club’s share was worth only 2.89 euros: almost 88% of its value had evaporated!
The OL Groupe stock even bottomed out in October 2020 at 1.80 euros, before rising a little since then.
It must be recognized that out of the twenty clubs introduced on the European Stock Exchange, very few have had a good stock market career.
It appears that “the glorious uncertainty of sport” which is the very essence of football does not go well with the stock market. A stock market that we can clearly see in the current global situation appreciates said uncertainty less than ever…
We therefore understand why the future new boss of OL has no desire to remain listed on the stock market…
Photo-Jean-Michel Aulas, during OL’s IPO in 2007