Football News

Ineos: Britain’s third richest man buys Ligue 1 club Nice with aim of Champions League qualification

By Ben Green

Published: 9:51, 28 August 2019

Petrochemicals firm Ineos, founded by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has purchased Ligue 1 club OGC Nice and immediately declared plans to qualify for the Champions League.

The French outfit was bought from a consortium headed by Chinese-American investor Chien Lee, which had owned the club since 2016.

Ineos buy Nice: Five things to know…

  • Ineos reportedly attempted to purchase Nice back in Fabruary.
  • However, president Ganaye Gauthier wasn’t satisfied with the £77m offer.
  • Ratcliffe’s company returned with a new package and have successfully completed a deal for the Ligue 1 outfit.
  • Britain’s third richest man was linked with a takeover at Chelsea prior to acquiring Nice.
  • This is the second football club Ineos has taken over, after Lausanne in 2017.

Ratcliffe, who is Britain’s third richest man, reportedly submitted a €100m (£88.77m) bid for the club earlier this year, but the official fee is thus far undisclosed.

The French Riviera club is managed by Arsenal ‘Invincible’ Patrick Vieira and he will now be a part of the ‘Ineos Football’ group.

“We have looked at a lot of clubs in the manner we look at businesses in Ineos — for value and potential — and OGC Nice fulfils that criteria,” Ratcliffe said.

“With some sensible, measured investment, we want to establish OGC Nice as a team that competes in European club competition on a regular basis. And, importantly, sustain it.

Asked specifically about future aims, he added: “Our target will to be in the Champions League in between three to five seasons. We’re not saying this season, we’re not saying tomorrow.

“And we would like to see four French clubs qualifying for the Champions League. If Italy has that, England has that, Germany, Spain, why not France, with its heritage and its World Cups?”

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Ineos in sport

This is not the chemicals group’s first venture into the world of sport, or football for that matter, with the firm having purchased Swiss second division side Lausanne in 2017.

“We made some mistakes at Lausanne, but we are fast learners, these have been rectified and we are already seeing the benefits,” Ratcliffe admitted.

“Clubs need to be successful off the pitch, as well as on it, and Nice will be no different.”

Outside of football, the chemical company were involved in a high-profile deal to take over British professional cycling organisation Team Sky back in May, rebranding the highly-successful outfit as Team Ineos.

Ratcliffe’s company also invested a significant sum in Britain’s America’s Cup sailing team last year.