Tue Oct 25 12:15:13 SAST 2016

Film producer and lawyer in talks to buy rugby giant Toulon

AFP | 19 October, 2016 07:57
Mourad Boudjellal the club owner of Toulon. File photo
Image by: David Rogers / Getty Images

A film producer and a lawyer are in advanced talks to buy Toulon from the French giant's colourful owner, Mourad Boudjellal.

The reported $11-million (R153-million) deal could be concluded "in a relatively short time", Lucien Simon, the lawyer and potential new club president, said yesterday.

Toulon is home to Bryan Habana, Juan Smith, Juandré Kruger, Duane Vermeulen and Marcell van der Merwe.

Simon is joining forces to buy Toulon with Gerard Barba, a 51-year-old French film producer.

Boudjellal, who has bankrolled Toulon to three European titles (2013, 2014, 2015) and the French championship in 2014 over his 10 years at the helm, has become increasingly frustrated at his critics.

Boudjellal said last month he wanted "another life" and wondered why "he takes hits every week".

"There is a strong chance that this will be my last year," said the man who made his fortune from comic-book publishing before investing large sums of it in bringing world stars to the Stade Mayol.

"I do not have a huge fortune but it's reasonable. I am much depleted by the club and I don't know if many presidents do this."

Said Simon: "Things aren't done today. We're still working with Mourad, who remains the sole person to decide."


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