Mourad Boudjellal is no longer the owner of Toulon after selling his majority share in the French Top 14 club, but will remain in his role as club president.
Bernard Lemaitre, an 80-year-old pharmaceuticals magnate, is now the majority shareholder after receiving at least 65% of the club’s shares under the new deal. Lemaitre, who initially arrived at the club by buying a 25% share, was responsible for financing the construction of Toulon’s new training centre which will open next year.
According to French publication L’equipe, the move came after Boudjellal’s realisation that he no longer has the financial means to keep up with the other Top 14 clubs.
Under the terms of the new deal, Boudjellal will stay on in his role as club president until 2020, when he is expected to run for the presidency of the French national league. Should he successfully be elected, he would have to step away from Toulon entirely.
This deal ends Boudjellal’s 12-year reign over Toulon, which has brought unprecedented success with the club winning three European Cups and claiming the Top 14 title in 2014. Under Boudjellal, Toulon have invested heavily in big-name stars, including England’s Jonny Wilkinson and Springboks Bryan Habana, Juan Smith and Bakkies Botha.
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