Butler Capital-led group buys French football club

French media group Canal Plus has sold a 60 percent stake in struggling football club Paris St Germain to Butler Capital Partners, Colony Capital and Morgan Stanley.

A group of investors led by Paris-based turnaround specialist Butler Capital Partners has acquired French football club Paris St Germain for €41 million ($50 million).
 
Canal Plus, the pay TV arm of French media group Vivendi, has agreed to sell Paris St Germain to Butler Capital Partners, Colony Capital and Morgan Stanley bank.
 
According to a statement from Paris St Germain, the three investors will each hold 20 percent of the football club, with the remaining 40 percent to be put up for sale in the coming months.
 
Alain Cayzac, an executive at Paris St Germain and a former shareholder in the club, is expected to remain as chairman under the new structure, according to the statement. Current coach Guy Lacombe is also expected to be retained.
 
Cayzac attempted a takeover of the club in 2005 alongside then-president Francis Graille, but the move was blocked by Canal Plus and Graille was dismissed shortly after.
 
According to Reuters, Colony Capital’s chairman in Europe Sebastien Bazin told a news conference: “It’s the first French [football] club bought by investors but I can bet it’s not the last”.
 
Established in 1970, Paris St Germain won France’s top division, Ligue 1, in 1986 and 1994 but has failed to win domestic honours since and currently sits in eighth position in the league this season.
 
Canal Plus, which bought the rights to Ligue 1 coverage for €600 million in 2004, is believed to have been concerned by the club’s lack of success and image problems resulting from allegations of fraud and crowd hooliganism.
 
Butler Capital Partners was not immediately available for comment. The firm most recently partnered with the Bucher family to acquire French restaurant company Groupe Flo in a €137 million transaction.