Takeover of AS Saint-Étienne: story of a busy week

17 May 2024 / Thibaud Vézirian

The change is now. A little phrase that has become legendary, but it fits AS Saint-Etienne so well. While the Greens play their future this evening at 20:45 p.m. on the Quevilly lawn for the last day of Ligue 2, the club is about to formalize its change of owner... Finally!

This has lasted for years. It had become a sea serpent even longer to become official than the sale of Olympique de Marseille. From now on, everything is in place for the major maneuvers. Publicly. No more behind-the-scenes discussions, buyers, Kilmer Sports Ventures represented by Ivan Gazidis, are displayed in Saint-Étienne.

ASSE has officially opened exclusive negotiations with the investment fund. This means that everything has been OK behind the scenes for a while. Ivan Gazidis, former owner of Arsenal and AC MIlan, even appeared all week before leaving this Friday.

In the event of a victory this evening in Quevilly and a poor performance from Angers at the same time, the Greens could see their history turned upside down twice.. A rise to Ligue 1 and a takeover? This is the project that makes supporters dream. But the club could also go through the play-off box. Where Metz will be waiting firmly for the qualified Ligue 2 club.

On sale for more than six years, AS Saint-Etienne finally seems to be heading towards renewal. On Monday, Ivan Gazidis landed in Paris. New meeting with Bernard Caïazzo, co-president of AS Saint-Étienne with Roland Romeyer. They then refine the official club press release. Published late afternoon. “ The shareholders of AS Saint-Étienne and the Canadian group Kilmer Sports Ventures enter into exclusive negotiations with a view to acquiring the club."

Kilmer Sports Ventures is a Canadian family group owned by Larry Tanenbaum. The sale should be finalized in the coming weeks. It is now a matter of filling “ the information and consultation obligations of stakeholders and competent authorities”. So, the Social and Economic Committee met on Wednesday to validate the recovery project. Formal but essential step. A successful and reassuring classic meeting. Particularly because no layoff plan has been announced.

According to progress, it is even said that future buyers would already have the upper hand even before the sale is recorded. Common practice in this type of negotiation.

The president of Kilmer Sports Ventures, Ivan Gazidis therefore stayed there for several days. Just to familiarize himself with places that should soon become familiar to him. To visit the infrastructures, he was, according to the story in the newspaper L'Equipe, accompanied by Mr. Fahmy (director of operations), Mr. Rosenfeld (DATA specialist) and Mr. Heitz (Larry Tanenbaum's confidant).

Already, coach Olivier Dall'Oglio was able to speak with the new investors. « The sale of the club? I am attentive. The future of the club is essential. It looks pretty good. There are other people arriving. We've been talking about this sale for a long time. It's been a few years. Now that it's about to happen, I think it's a new step for the club. I was introduced. » Brief but very real presentation, since the latter does not speak English well.

Confirmations of the seriousness of the buyers, if necessary? Certainly. And already, some staunch supporters of the Greens have left their smartphone cameras lying around to immortalize a few scenes. Particularly when the delegation came to visit the training center, the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium or the Greens store.

Communications advisor Denis Chaumier even published this photo of Ivan Gazidis holding the Greens' 90th anniversary book.

Members of Kilmer Sports Ventures are gone (filmed again) this morning from Saint-Exupéry airport. Only a few short administrative steps left before the total formalization of the takeover. In particular a passage from the DNCG, the financial policeman of French football.

This evening, it's time for the field, validation or not of the rise to Ligue 1. The Greens will be fixed.