After several weeks of rumors and leaks, OL Reign parent company OL Groupe officially announced today that they are forming a global multi-team women’s football group in conjunction with Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang, who will serve as majority owner and CEO of the newly formed, yet-to-be-named group. OL Groupe will contribute its women’s team to this new group while Kang will contribute her stake in the Spirit, with a plan for the new company to acquire additional clubs around the globe.
This looks broadly similar to the vision OL Groupe had for establishing a global brand when they acquired the then-named Reign FC in late 2019, including plans to share best practices for coaching, scouting, fitness, marketing, and making loans and exchanges between the first teams and academies. However, one key difference is that this new group will be solely focused on women’s soccer rather than on growing Lyon’s overall brand. To that point, Kang stressed that there are no plans to bring the OL name to Washington or the Spirit name to France.
OL Reign currently remains a part of OL Groupe while Raine Group facilitates a sale of the French club’s 89.5% stake. Tony Parker holds 3% of the club while founding owners Bill and Teresa Predmore retain the remaining 7.5%. OL Groupe has put a target price of €50m on the sale of OL Reign (approximately $54.3m USD) and has reportedly received inquiries from several parties interested in buying the club. Sounder at Heart understands there are multiple local groups interested, but their identities and a timeline for the sale is not yet known.
Any sale will require league approval and to ensure that the new majority owners meet USSF and league requirements. Similarly, Kang’s takeover of Lyon and transfer of the Spirit to the new group will similarly require both NWSL and French approval, which the organization estimates will be received by the end of June.
American John Textor purchased OL Groupe in December 2022, adding the club to his other football investments via Eagle Football Holdings. Earlier this month, Textor became chairman of the OL Groupe board of directors and interim CEO, with Jean-Michel Aulas stepping down after 36 years with the club. In February, Kang also acquired a minority stake in Textor’s Eagle Football Holdings. Kang claimed to The Athletic that OL Groupe’s sale of the Reign was already in discussion prior to her conversations with Textor and Eagle Football.