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Toronto businessman Tanenbaum in talks to buy French soccer club Saint-Etienne



Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum is in exclusive talks to purchase the storied French soccer club Saint-Étienne, according to an announcement by the club on Monday. The full acquisition is expected to be finalized within a few weeks, just as the team is pushing for promotion back to France’s top soccer league.


Tanenbaum, who is the chairman and a minority owner of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), is known for his involvement with several major Toronto sports teams, including the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Raptors. Through his holding company, Kilmer Group, Tanenbaum has been expanding his sports portfolio. Recently, he secured a WNBA expansion franchise for the 2026 season.


Expressing his enthusiasm, Tanenbaum stated, “I know what Saint-Étienne represents for its community and for French football. The club is the beating heart of a city and its region.”


This is not Tanenbaum’s first attempt to enter the European soccer market. In 2022, he partnered with Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca and former soccer star John Terry in an unsuccessful bid to purchase the Premier League club Chelsea.


Saint-Étienne, a club with a rich history, has won the French championship ten times, though not since 1981 when the legendary Michel Platini was their star player. Their home, a 41,000-seat stadium, is set to host matches during the upcoming Paris Olympics for both men's and women’s soccer.


The announcement of the potential sale comes at a critical time for Saint-Étienne. The team, which was relegated two years ago, needs a victory against Quevilly on Friday to stay in contention for a second-place finish and automatic promotion. They are guaranteed at least a third-place finish, securing a spot in the promotion playoffs.


Saint-Étienne emphasized their desire for an ambitious future with a new owner who is “trusted, experienced, and financially solid.” The deal is being negotiated for Kilmer Group by Ivan Gazidis, former CEO of Arsenal and Inter Milan.


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