Home Sports Is the takeover project led by Mourad Boudjellal credible?

Is the takeover project led by Mourad Boudjellal credible?


Frank McCourt, Mourad Boudjellal and Emmanuel Macron, at the Mayol stadium in Toulon, March 6, 2017. – David Niviere / SIPA

  • Mourad Boudjellal announced Friday that he would file a plan to buy Olympique de Marseille with investors from the Middle East.
  • Since then, he has constantly praised the reliability of the project in many media.
  • OM president Jacques-Henri Eyraud said that the club was not for sale.

Millions of euros, stars in the transfer window, a battle finally eye to eye with the PSG… Since Friday,
Marseille wriggles. Mourad Boudjellal surprised everyone by announcing with great fanfare a project to buy OM from Saudi funds. The former president of the
Toulon rugby club praised the seriousness and solidity of the case, of which President Emmanuel Macron will have the details and which will be presented via a private business bank to the current owner of the club, the American Frank McCourt.

Credible or not? Between those who believe in it and those who have not forgotten the painful episode Jack Kachkar in 2007, the city was divided. For the moment, it is rather skepticism that seems to prevail. “Even I find it hard to believe,” Boudjellal admitted in a
interview to The team, Saturday. Difficult to believe in any case that the former successful president of the RCT appeared in broad daylight without guarantees.

The Var business man toured meals on the streets to defend his plan. “I can simply tell you that there are state funds and private companies. I am carrying the project to bring it to completion, he assured 20 Minutes. We are going to contact McCourt directly. After if he is not a seller, he will not be a seller. But I have the impression that he would rather have an interest in listening to us. “

The takeover offer would be staggering. AFP mentions a global envelope of 700 million euros, including 300 for the buyout itself, 200 to repay debts and 200 for the transfer window. “500 million [sans compter le mercato], that would mean that loon is more expensive than a club like Inter and would be the equivalent of AC Milan. This price seems enormous to me, estimates the economist of the sport Pierre Rondeau. If this offer is real, McCourt would have no reason to refuse. It would be completely bailed out, would recover its investments and make a big capital gain [il avait acheté le club 50 millions, plus 78 millions de reprise de dettes et environ 220 millions investis dans les transferts]. “Which fits well with the American businessman profile. “But I really ask to see,” insists the economist, who finds it hard to believe in these amounts.

Geopolitics and good timing

If the advanced figures can question, several elements still make the project plausible. From a geopolitical point of view, already, history stands. Since 2013, an economic and influence war has been waged in the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side, and Qatar on the other. Sport is one of the fields of expression of this struggle, and it is not the first time that we speak in France of a Saudi interest to compete with the PSG of the Qatari rival.

The timing for positioning is good, too. Three reasons for this, explains Pierre Rondeau: “The club has just been sanctioned by financial fair play, TV rights will explode next season and we are in a period of crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, which means lower turnover and better value for work. These are arguments for them, to say that the club is not worth 200, 300 or 400 million as we have heard. “

For the same reasons, however, it may not be the right time to sell. “I always thank people who have an interest, including financial, in OM. We are not interested. OM is not for sale ”, attacked President Jacques-Henri Eyraud at a press conference on Saturday. Normal. Even if this were the case, a seller never has any interest in showing himself as such. The next few days will see more clearly. The only thing certain, the credibility of Mourad Boudjellal, mounted at the front without a net, is heavily engaged.


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