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Kyril Louis-Dreyfus agrees Sunderland takeover deal subject to EFL approval

Stadium of Light
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Sunderland have confirmed an agreement has been reached for Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to acquire Stewart Donald’s controlling interest in the club.

Louis-Dreyfus, the son of former Marseille owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus, will become chairman of the Sky Bet League One club “early in the New Year”, subject to approval from the English Football League.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “Documentation relating to the deal has been lodged today with the EFL for their scrutiny, and the club recognises that the EFL need to approve all aspects of the transaction and business plan going forward before any change of control.

“Given the time of year, that process is not expected to conclude until mid-January, until which point there will be no further public comment from Sunderland AFC or Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.”

Donald announced he wanted to sell Sunderland in July, but the club had previously declined to comment on reports that a deal was close to being completed.

Donald told the club’s official website: “It’s been no secret that I have been looking for some time to find the right person to take Sunderland forward and during the course of the last year there have been a lot of different people wanting to take over.

“However, even though it is a matter of public record that some of those bidders offered me more money, I felt that they offered less to the club and to the community.”

Louis-Dreyfus said: “First, I would like to thank Stewart Donald for his integrity and reasonableness over the last three months, which has led to me having the opportunity to take a controlling stake in Sunderland AFC.

“We respectfully await the EFL’s approval for this transaction. Nonetheless it would be remiss of me at this stage not to emphasise what an enormous honour it would be for me to become involved with such a historic club, in a city renowned for its rich football culture going back to 1879.

“Many will be aware of my family connections to the industry and, in acquiring Sunderland AFC, I understand the responsibility that’s placed upon me as the custodian of the club’s future.”

Louis-Dreyfus’ family founded the Swiss-based Louis-Dreyfus group in the 19th century and owned French club Marseille for 10 years before selling it in 2016.