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By ESPN Staff

Canadian launches Marseille takeover bid

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Canadian businessman Jack Kachkar said on Wednesday he had offered about 115 millions euros ($148.6 million) to buy Ligue 1 club Olympique Marseille and was confident his bid would be accepted.

Marseille said the selling process, which is expected to last several weeks, started after Kachkar delivered financial guarantees to main shareholder Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

'It will be around 115 million euros,' Kachkar told French sports daily L'Equipe. 'We have made our study and offered a price which we judge appropriate. I think everybody is happy.'

Marseille, the most prestigious French club, won the European Cup in 1993 and have lifted eight league titles. They were stripped of the French championship in 1993 because of a bribery scandal.

The southerners lie third in the Ligue 1 standings, 17 points behind leaders Olympique Lyon.

'Marseille are a great club with an enormous potential and amazing supporters,' said Kachkar, adding that he had targeted Marseille rather than a top English Premier League club because it was cheaper.

'You know, Manchester United, that's a billion dollars, that's too much for me,' he said.

Kachkar said he had met England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson last month but had not offered him a job as Marseille coach.

'I was very impressed by what he said but I have not formally contacted him,' Kachkar said. 'I have also talked to other coaches.'

Louis-Dreyfus took over Marseille for the symbolic sum of one franc 10 years ago but has since put about 170 million euros of his personal wealth into the club.

He said he wanted to sell his shares after he received last June a three-year suspended sentence for his involvement in a fraud scandal involving player transfers in the late 1990s. He was also fined 375,000 euros.