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Mar 29, 2007

Louis-Dreyfus ends Marseille takeover talks

MARSEILLE, France, March 29 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille's main shareholder Robert Louis-Dreyfus has ended all takeover negotiations with Canadian businessman Jack Kachkar.

'Mr Louis-Dreyfus has put an end to all negotiations with Jack Kachkar,' a spokesman for Louis-Dreyfus said on Thursday.

Kachkar had offered 115 million euros ($153 million) to buy one of France's most prestigious football clubs but he failed to provide sufficient guarantees to make the deal effective.

Louis-Dreyfus broke off talks with Kachkar last week after the Canadian asked for a further delay to pay the 115 million euro price that had been set for him to take over the former European champions.

Kachkar, owner of pharmaceutical company Inyx, said he had delivered financial guarantees to Louis-Dreyfus.

A spokesman for Kachkar said on March 1 a final agreement had been reached with Louis-Dreyfus, who later said the deal would be finalised only once he received the money.

The French Professional Football League (LFP) had informed Marseille that it viewed Kachkar's bid unfavourably.

Marseille lifted the European Cup in 1993, have won eight league titles and the French Cup a record 10 times. They were stripped of the French championship in 1993 because of a bribery scandal.

Louis-Dreyfus took over Marseille for the symbolic sum of one franc 10 years ago. Despite putting around 170 million euros of his personal wealth into the club, he has failed to win a trophy.

He said he wanted to sell his shares after receiving a three-year suspended sentence last June for his involvement in a fraud scandal over player transfers in the late 1990s.