L’Équipe report this morning that American investor David Blitzer is set to put €100m on the table in an attempt to buy out Saint-Étienne, in a bid made with fellow billionaire Josh Harris.
Current co-presidents Bernard Caïazzo and Roland Romeyer are said to have an agreement in place with Blitzer, who along with Harris is also one of the four shareholders at Premier League side Crystal Palace and were backers of Martin Broughton’s failed bid to buy Chelsea.
The takeover itself would cost €38m in order to buy out the two co-presidents’ shares, both at 50%, while another sum would be dedicated to alleviating the club’s debt. This includes the €30m deficit as well as the €18.5m Covid-19 state-guaranteed loan, and the club’s legal proceedings with former goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier. The rest of the money will be invested in the club.
The wage bill will be reduced by €18m this summer as 14 players see out their contracts, while €33m will come from the LFP’s deal with CVC over the next two years.
As a result, winning their relegation playoff against Auxerre – the first leg is tonight – is vital. Should Les Verts go down, Blitzer will bring his offer down to €80m, with the two co-owners only now receiving half of the original sum and their agreement to the deal no longer guaranteed. One of the ways this could be solved would be to bring in Blitzer as a minority shareholder on a temporary basis, for two years.