Buying (and therefore selling) a football club can take months or even years. ASSE is in the process of selling and last night, Romain Molina (investigative journalist specializing in soccer), delivered the latest information regarding the sale of the Saint-Etienne club. The opportunity to remember the different stages that mark the sale of a club.
A club is not a kilo of tomatoes (although sometimes the latter fly low over the former when the results do not follow!). Thus, when buying a football club, there are steps to follow. ASSE is currently in exclusive negotiations with a potential buyer, namely David Blitzer.
“The assets of a football club include a team made up of players, and these are not ‘normal’ employees, they all have fixed-term contracts, it is a somewhat atypical population”explained the associate lawyer of the Cabinet Taj, Muriel Féraud-Courtin, in the columns of L’Equipe a few years ago.
Therefore, it is very difficult to assess the purchase price of a football club. “The true value of a club is what the seller agrees to take back or what the buyer actually agrees to put up. When you want to sell fast, you’ll never get the best sale there.” indicates the president of the Football Business Observatory, Vincent Chaudel.
“Sometimes it sucks because we realize the true financial situation of the club.”
The steps leading to the sale are as follows:
1- The club appoints an agent: as far as ASSE is concerned, the firm KPMG has been appointed.
2- The club makes a “due diligence sale”: It is a kind of presentation brochure in which all the characteristics of the club are specified in the financial, social, fiscal, legal fields… Either the potential buyer is satisfied with this presentation, or decides to enter a phase himself due diligence on for more details. It is at this stage that David Blitzer finds himself, which prompted a delegation to visit the offices of L’Etrat this week.
Romain Molina confirms it: “St-Etienne is without a doubt the club that is most talked about. A delegation from the Blitzer group has come. They are doing the due diligence (note: the necessary controls). They are checking everything. What I don’t know is until when I know that they are in exclusive negotiations with Roland Romeyer and Bernard Caïazzo, as had already been the case with other funds that had already tried their luck in taking over St-Etienne Sometimes it sucks because we realize the true economic situation of the club , that there may be a few dead bodies in the closets, or there are also the owners who will suddenly demand more money when a deal has been found”.
3- A data rom is mounted (it has existed for several months in ASSE and has already been consulted by other potential buyers… “The data room comes into play when we have identified serious buyers, explains Vincent Chaudel. Because you’re getting naked, so you don’t want to do it twelve times. It takes a real and serious will to redeem.”
This step is very similar to when you sell your car. You start to give certain information such as maintenance invoices and the history of your vehicle only when you have the impression of being in front of a serious buyer…
Romeyer and Caïazzo are waiting for a quick offer!
4 – Then all the parties have to agree on an amount, and that’s where things start (even more) serious…
Romain Molina continues: “The truth is that they moved this week. No offers have been made yet. The leaders of St-Etienne expect one rather quickly. Will it be accepted? I dont know ! Be that as it may, given what has happened in recent weeks and based on what I have heard from St-Etienne, the purchase price cannot be very, very high.
When you buy ASSE, which is a mythical club and very interesting to buy, its financial situation poses a problem. Relegation to Ligue 2 had not been planned at all. A club like St-Etienne cannot stay in Ligue 2 for long, not least because of its structural deficit. So you know you’re going to have to put, put, and put to make up for that shortfall. What about that? So there hasn’t been an offer yet, but there are exclusive negotiations… However, I’m not in the secret of the Gods…”
Blitzer’s emissaries visited the club’s infrastructure…
The visit of the delegation to St-Etienne had the particular objective of discovering the real estate structures and furniture of the club. Le Progrès specifies that David Blitzer’s emissaries arrived on Wednesday and continued their visit yesterday. In particular, they were able to discover the Robert-Herbin life center, the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium and the green museum. L’Equipe adds that they were accompanied by a KPMG representative.
A week in which L’Etrat will have welcomed another less sympathetic visitor since the club was raided to seize potentially compromising documents in a case of unlicensed players’ agents… A bit of an awkward moment, but we confirm that this it will not happen to affect the ongoing sales process.
Some (good?) news could drop at the end of the month. It is in any case the will of all, beginning with the sympathizers. But as Romain Molina mentioned earlier, our two presidents and presidents are sometimes unpredictable and an increase in offers would certainly not be to the liking of David Blitzer, who has a reputation for being both competent and tough on business… L ‘ Equipe specifies that the meeting that took place this week between the Blitzer delegation and Roland Romeyer did not go very well. However, not enough to hinder the redemption process. The newspaper specifies that in case of taking over the club, a new general manager could replace Jean-François Soucasse… It would be a profile corresponding to Gauthier Ganaye (34 years old) who already has a long past in football since he has already held roles in Lens, Barnsley, Nice, Oostende and Nancy. A profile that could also correspond to that of Aymeric Magne (39), who refereed at Disneyland Paris before the City Football Group placed him as general manager at Troyes in 2021.