FC Lorient have officially announced the arrival of a new American shareholder: Bill Foley’s Black Knight Football and Entertainment LLC.
The partnership means that Black Knight now own significant footballing interests on both sides of the English channel. Black Knight purchased Premier League club AFC Bournemouth outright last month. Bournemouth’s status in their respective division (16th) is more precarious than that of Lorient, who sit sixth in Ligue 1 after 18 games.
The Brittany-based club announced Black Knight’s new involvement through a press release:
“FC Lorient announces today the signing of a partnership agreement with BKFE, a company specialising in sports, headed by William P. Foley II. Through this agreement, BKFE and the listed company Cannae Holdings will become minority shareholders of the FC Lorient group in the coming weeks.”
“This partnership, which provides an increase in capital, will strengthen the equity of the FCL group through the arrival of a powerful shareholder, well-recognised in the world of sport.”
The press release also noted that Loïc Féry, Lorient’s sole owner since 2009, will remain majority shareholder. He will also retain presidency over the club – a position he has held for 14 seasons. In spite of this, Romain Molina’s reporting suggests that the partnership deal does include a long-term option for Foley to become majority shareholder.
BKFE’s partnership with Lorient (and Bournemouth) forms part of a broader strategy that will seek not only to create a network of European clubs, but also of South American clubs in future.
GFFN | Brendan Cox