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US fund leads takeover of struggling Ligue 2 club Caen

Rennes (France) (AFP) – US investment fund Oaktree Capital and French TV and video producer Pierre-Antoine Capton said on Monday they had taken over struggling Ligue 2 club Caen.

A press release by the new owners said the takeover “marks a turning point in the history of Stade Malherbe Caen and forges strong sporting ambitions for the 2020/2021 season”.

The statement said Oaktree, a Los Angeles-based fund which specialises in distressed debt, and Capton, founder of the Paris-based audiovisual production company Third Eye, had acquired 100 percent of Caen without specifying how they had divided the ownership. French media reported that Oaktree would own 80 percent of the club.

Capton, who is from Normandy where Caen are based, was a member of previous ownership the “Club of 10”, a group of 12 local business people. He becomes chairman of the board.

The club was relegated from Ligue 1 in 2019 and finished 13th in Ligue 2 in the curtailed 2019/20 season. It has been struggling financially and faces a hearing before French football’s financial watchdog, the DNCG, in mid-September.

Caen, which gave France and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante his Ligue 1 debut, had already announced the hiring of Olivier Pickeu, who built Angers into a Ligue 1 club in 14 years as sports director, as club president.

Caen becomes the 11th French football league club under foreign ownership after Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Monaco and Nice in Ligue 1 and in Ligue 2, Auxerre, Sochaux, Toulouse and Troyes, bought by Manchester City’s parent company last week. 

Marseille, Bordeaux and Toulouse, which changed hands in July, are also American-owned.

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