Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has entered into exclusive discussions regarding a takeover of Ligue 1 outfit Marseille.
Details of the transaction have not been disclosed but it is hoped the deal can be completed by the end of the year, following a consultation period.
“Being a part of Olympique de Marseille and helping the club achieve success both on and off the pitch would be an honour and privilege for me and my family,” said McCourt who also owns the Los Angeles Marathon.
“Not only is OM among the oldest and most respected football clubs in the world and the only French club to win the UEFA Champions League, it is one of the most iconic brands in all of sports.
“OM enjoys the passionate support of legions of fans in Marseille, throughout France, and around the world.
“As the steward of OM, my ambition would be to help return the club to championship form, to deliver the best fan experience in all of football, to strengthen the club’s ties with supporters and the city of Marseille, and to guide the club to long-term financial stability.”
Current owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus added: “Today, Olympique de Marseille turns a page in its history. A new owner who would care for our fantastic club has been chosen among many candidates, in a long and diligent process.
“I am sure that Frank McCourt will be the best choice to succeed my family and to ensure a great future for OM.
“In a few months, it will be 20 years since Robert [Louis-Dreyfus] decided to take responsibility for OM. All these years, in good and bad times, our love for OM was the sole driving force for my family to support the club as much as we could.
“I know that our efforts may not always have been enough to assure success and I am sorry for that.
“Now, a new era begins. To maintain an emotional connection between OM and my family, I would stay with the club and continue to support it as a small minority shareholder.
“Today, my sons and I wish from the bottom of our hearts great success and many victories to the best football club in the world, to Olympique de Marseille! Vive l’OM!”
McCourt’s sale of the Dodgers for $2.15billion in 2012 represents the highest price ever paid for a sports team.