Early on Wednesday, the French newspaper L’Équipe reported on an imminent sale of the women’s section of Olympique Lyonnais to the American businesswoman Michele Kang, who also owns the Washington Spirit. Few details were reported on the structure of the sale, but L’Équipe seemed to imply that OL Groupe’s men’s clubs and OL Reign would remain under current ownership.
OL Groupe responded with a statement that denied what it said was “inaccurate information” in the story. The club claimed that no agreement has been reached for the sale of the women’s section of OL, but did seem to leave the door open to the possibility.
The bigger news for OL Reign fans, however, is that OL Groupe announced in the same statement that it has “given a mandate to sell” its OL Reign franchise. OL Groupe confirmed that Raine Group will be in charge of finding a buyer and facilitating the sale. Raine Group is deeply involved in the Manchester United sale process and was already the lead financial advisor in the sale of OL Groupe to John Textor.
L’Olympique Lyonnais tient à démentir les informations inexactes publiées par le journal L’Équipe sur une éventuelle cession de son équipe féminine. https://t.co/OcJap5uiE3— OL Féminin (@OLfeminin) April 12, 2023
“Olympique Lyonnais is happy and proud to have been able to build the new foundations of OL Reign, to have contributed to its sporting success (Shield winner and semi-finalist of the NWSL 2022), but also to have repatriated the team in Seattle with its fans and community, as OL Groupe committed to when it was acquired in 2019.” OL Groupe shared [translated via Google Translate from French].
Ride of the Valkyries reached out to OL Reign for comment. A spokesperson directed all questions to current OL Groupe ownership and noted, “Our club is fully focused on preparing for Saturday’s highly-anticipated home opener as we look ahead to welcome our loyal fans, break attendance records and continue to achieve success on the field and off in our day-to-day operations.”
An NWSL spokesperson confirmed that the league is aware of OL Groupe’s interest in exploring a sale of OL Reign and confirmed that the league “will continue to work closely with them to ensure any potential owner(s) are aligned with our league’s vision and values.”
From a #NWSL spokesperson:— Meg Linehan (@itsmeglinehan) April 12, 2023
“We’re aware of OL Group’s interest in exploring the sale of OL Reign and will continue to work closely with them to ensure any potential owner(s) are aligned with our league’s vision and values.”