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December 29, 2010
 

PSG is For Sale. Sort of.

Colony Capital in action?

You may not know this, but Paris Saint-Germain is owned by Americans.

Back in April of 2006, PSG owner Canal+ sold the team to an investment group comprised of a French investment company, an American investment company, and Morgan Stanley.

In June of 2009, the American investment firm, Colony Capital, bought out the shares of Morgan Stanley to move to a 95% ownership stake.

The California-based firm has offices around the world, and currently manages more than $30B in assets, concentrated largely in real-estate. The purchase of PSG flowed from an effort to diversify their portfolio after acquisitions of the Fairmont Hotel chain, a number of casinos, and the Neverland Ranch (yes, that one).

I suppose once you finance the bail-out of one of the world’s most famous photographers, the natural next step is into the sporting world.

Now it seems that Colony Capital is realizing that it may need some better-suited partners in its quest to return PSG to glory. Numerous recent reports confirm that a minority stake in the club is for sale, with club chairman Robin Leproux taking points to note that Colony Capital will still be the majority owner. Refusing to name potential investors, Leproux has stated that the talks involve both American and European companies. There was no mention made of long-rumoured investment by the Qatari royal family, who were thought to be making a move of $50M+ to take control of PSG.

In contrast to the EPL financial travesties at Anfield and Old Trafford, this actually seems to be quite a shrewd financial move on the part of the American owners. With deficits decreasing sharply during their tenure, Colony Capital have cut costs by making shrewd transfer moves (Nene for $7M, anyone?) and renegotiating a lease deal for the Parc des Princes that will see them receive municipal funds for renovations and new retail/lodging construction.

While the club from the capital currently sit in 2nd place in Ligue 1, it has been a long time since they were a consistent threat to take the title (don’t get me started on last year’s campaign). The PSG board rightly feel that to become that consistent threat they need to be even more active in the transfer market, which requires a greater degree of financial investment. An infusion of money from a new minority partner may be all that is needed to make PSG a true Ligue 1 contender for years to come.

Besides, Colony Capital is too busy investing their money in buying off unserviced debt on sub-prime mortgage loans.

Now that’s financial savvy!

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