MLS side Toronto FC may be the latest club to have its owner engage in multi-club ownership, this time with French outfit Saint-Etienne. The French side announced that it has engaged in talks with Kilmer Sports Ventures. Canadian Larry Tanenbaum owns Kilmer Sports Ventures, and he serves as the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, or MLSE. This group serves as the ownership for many of the professional sports teams in Toronto. That includes the NHL’s Maple Leafs, NBA’s Raptors, CFL’s Argonauts and Major League Soccer side Toronto FC.

Kilmer Sports Ventures owns 25% of MLSE, meaning Tanenbaum plays an ownership role in Toronto FC. Kilmer Sports Ventures adding Saint-Etienne to its ownership would mean he would have an ownership role in multiple soccer teams on different continents. In other words, he would add to a trend of owners having multiple clubs to oversee.

The benefits of this generally come in the transfer market. Clubs operating under a shared owner have the benefit of developing players in different leagues. For example, the City Football Group owns Manchester City and New York City FC in MLS, among other global sides. Angeliño and Jack Harrison are two players who played for NYCFC to develop. Then, after one or two seasons in Major League Soccer, the club pulled each back to Europe. It allows Manchester City to save money on transfers while also allowing players to develop.

The gap between those two clubs is sizeable. The related difference between Toronto FC and Saint-Etienne still exists, but it is not as large. Therefore, Tanenbaum and Kilmer Sports Ventures nearing a takeover of Saint-Etienne may not have the same interchange of players, but there is still ample potential for this relationship.

Toronto FC and Saint-Etienne would have the ability to exchange

Take managerial changes as an example. Saint-Etienne can earn promotion into Ligue 1 this season if it finishes second in Ligue 2. Even then the playoffs present an opportunity for Saint-Etienne to earn promotion. If that happens, it is likely the club’s manager, Olivier Dall’Oglio, will stay on board. Yet, managerial changes happen. There is certainly an argument that Saint-Etienne could call on John Herdman, the new head coach at Toronto, would have a path to Europe.

“Today, we want to help the club continue to progress while respecting, preserving and promoting its identity and its positive impact on its territory,” Tanenbaum said about the ownership takeover. “The history of the club, its supporters, its roots, as well as the quality of the work carried out by the current team are all strengths which convinced us to commit to AS Saint-Étienne.”

Other MLS clubs are part of multi-club ownership

Toronto FC, should this deal go through, would be the latest MLS club to feature in an ownership group having clubs across the world. As mentioned, NYCFC is part of City Football Group. Then, New York Red Bulls are part of the Red Bull organization that oversees both Leipzig and Salzburg, among others.

However, more recent ownership changes in Europe came from MLS clubs. Notable, LAFC was in talks to buy Swiss team Grasshopper Zurich. This trend helps Major League Soccer adapt to a global game by funneling in outside ideas. At the same time, it has benefits for the development of players and coaches in the United States.