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Canadian investment group buys French club Saint-Etienne

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Ten-time former French champions Saint-Etienne have secured a return to the top flight next season. Canadian investment group Kilmer Sports Ventures (KSV) have acquired former French footballing giants Saint-Etienne on Monday a day after the club returned to Ligue 1.Parisian businessman Bernard Caiazzo, 70, and local entrepreneur Roland Romeyer, 78, sold their Saint-Etienne shares allowing Kilmer Sport to become “the sole shareholder”, a club statement read. The new president of the legendary club in central France will be South African Ivan Gazidis, considered the architect of the takeover, who was CEO of Premier League club Arsenal for ten years and then of Serie A giants AC Milan for four. “I know what Saint-Etienne means, it means something to me.

And I immediately felt that I would be very proud to be a part of this historic club and very proud to try to bring the club back to where it has been in the past,” Gazidis, 59, told AFP.Saint-Etienne were put up for sale for the first time in 2018, without success, and again in 2021. Financial details of the transaction were not revealed but it is estimated the deal cost around 20 million euros ($21.6m) for the shares.

KSV is part of Kilmer Group, a Toronto-based firm specialising in private equity, real estate, sports and media. Its founder Lawrence Tanenbaum, 78, is chairman of Maple Leaf Sports which owns Toronto’s National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and Canadian Football League franchises.

Saint-Etienne drew 2-2 after extra time in Metz on Sunday to win their playoff 4-3 on aggregate and return to Ligue 1, two years after relegation. Les Verts had won the first leg 2-1 at their Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, the emblematic “Chaudron”. “I’m very happy for everybody that cares about the club, very happy for the staff that worked very hard for this, very happy for the town and I’m very happy for Bernard and Roland,” said Gazidis.”Of course, it’s no credit to us. We come in at a nice moment,” he said. “In some ways, it increases the responsibility, we feel. “This won’t be a revolution, it will be an evolution. We’re very focused on taking things one step at a time. “The first step will be to make sure that we are solid in Ligue 1.” Ten-time French champions Saint-Etienne — runners-up in the 1976 European Cup to Bayern Munich — lifted their last Ligue 1 trophy in 1981.

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