A statement from Lyon has been released to reject a report by L’Équipe that claimed Michele Kang is set to acquire a majority stake in Lyon
According to a report by L’Équipe, American businesswoman Michele Kang was set to acquire a majority stake in Lyon’s successful women’s team through her investment vehicle Eagle Football, which is the majority shareholder of the overall parent company OL Groupe.
The report stated that an agreement had been reached several weeks ago between Kang and Lyon owner John Textor, who are reportedly friends and neighbours in Palm Beach, Florida. However, Lyon have denied the report in a club statement.
However, whilst Lyon have confirmed that OL Groupe are currently “in talks with a number of new partners to develop their assets” in order to “reaffirm and amplify their position as the world leader in women’s football,” there is more to the story.
Lyon clarified in their statement that the women’s team they are selling is the OL Reign National Women’s Soccer League franchise based in Seattle, not their own women’s team based in France.
They have given the mandate to sell the US club, which they acquired in 2019, to the Raine investment bank.
L’Équipe journalist Hugo Guillemet reported that the sale of OL Reign would be required if Michele Kang’s acquisition of the Lyon women’s team in France was indeed happening, as Kang cannot own a majority stake in two National Women’s Soccer League franchises.
Kang currently holds a majority stake in the Washington Spirit and is the founder and CEO of health information technology company Cognosante.
Lyon make their stance on Kang’s investment clear
“For a very long time and made concrete for three years with OL Reign, OL Groupe has already demonstrated its strong desire to create the first women’s multi-club group, based on the principle of achieving synergy across all continents. OL Groupe has always supported the idea of contributing positively to the development of women’s sport and its athletes to strive more for excellence.
“Olympique Lyonnais regrets this erroneous information which impacts its women’s team, its players, its image and its interests. Some confusion may have arisen following discussions that have taken place in recent days around OL Reign. Indeed, OL Groupe announces that it has given a mandate to sell its NWSL franchise to the investment bank Raine group.
“Olympique Lyonnais is happy and proud to have been able to build new foundations for OL Reign, to have contributed to its sporting success (shield winner and semi-finalist of the NWSL 2022), but also to have repatriated the team in Seattle with its fans and community, as OL Groupe committed to when it was acquired in 2019.” the statement read.