The takeover of Ligue 1 side Nice by Britain’s wealthiest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe will be confirmed on Tuesday, sources have told ESPN FC.
The outgoing owners Chien Lee, Alex Zheng, Paul Conway and Elliot Hayes, who bought Nice in 2016 for €23 million, agreed to sell it to the boss of the chemical giant Ineos for €100m nine days ago.
Three years after their takeover, the Chinese and American businessmen, who also own part of Barnsley in England’s second tier, will make a huge profit. There are now three final steps for the sale to be effective.
First, all the paperwork will be signed and become official on Tuesday morning during the club’s central management meeting at the stadium. Then Ratcliffe and his team will face the DNCG, the French financial fair play, to present their project, their business model and declare how much money they will invest in the club.
Finally, they will face an interview with the Competition Authority council. The whole process will take between four-to-six weeks and only after that will Ratcliffe, 66, officially be the Nice owner.
Ratcliffe is worth around €21 billion after founding Ineos and lives in Monaco. Nice manager Patrick Vieira, who took the team to seventh place in Ligue 1 in his first year at the club last season, has been informed his job is safe and he will remain in charge, sources have told ESPN FC.
The new owner has also promised to invest heavily in the club. He wants Nice to be in the Champions League in the next three years and hopes to compete with Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title.
In November 2017, Ratcliffe bought Lausanne Sport, the Swiss football club and also owns Ineos, the cycling team which compete in the Tour de France.
He is partnering with Ben Ainslie to form Ineos Team UK, which will compete for the America’s Cup in 2021. Ratcliffe is reportedly investing over £110m in the project.
Reports in England also linked him with the takeover of Chelsea a few weeks ago.