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May 31, 2011

Qatari group takes control of PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have announced that Qatari investors have bought a controlling 70% stake in the club, ending months of speculation about who the Ligue 1 outfit's new owners would be.

PSG's former owners, the American group Colony Capital, revealed back in December 2010 that they were looking for new investors and that search has reportedly led them to Qatar Investment Authority, an investment arm of the Qatari government.

Colony Capital have had a controlling stake in PSG since 2006, but will now pass on overall ownership to the Qatari group, though they will remain 30% shareholders.

A statement on PSG's official website read: "Colony Capital and a Qatari investment company have signed a letter of intent whereby this company shall, if the agreement is signed as contemplated, become the majority shareholder of Paris St Germain, with 70% of the football club. Colony would retain a 30% interest.

"With this new partner, Colony Capital would fulfil its objective of ensuring PSG's growth and long-term prospects. The partners will work together to build on Colony Capital's achievements over the last five years of their ownership of the club, to enhance its visibility and pre-eminence.''

Sebastien Bazin, chair of the club's supervisory board and head of Colony Capital in Europe, said: "Since the beginning of its investment in the PSG, Colony has recognised that it would always be but a steward of this great club. Over the last five years, Colony has worked diligently to improve the management of this Parisian institution.

"It has laid the groundwork, including a new successful training centre and reinvigorated the youth academy, from which to launch the club in its rightful place among Europe's leading clubs. And in parallel, has tackled spectator experience in the stadium to give the stadium back to a broad family-based audience.

"As part of its stewardship, Colony sought out the ideal partner who would contribute to its ambitions for PSG and assure its place in history. Our new associate is such a partner, fully motivated to ensure the club fulfils its full potential. It appreciates the important accomplishments of the current management and will continue to work with them to take the club to the next level.''

The takeover comes after PSG finished fourth in Ligue 1 - their highest placing since 2004 - and reached the Coupe de France final before losing to league champions Lille, though the capital club have struggled with hooligan problems off the pitch in recent years.

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