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EuroLeague wild card Asvel in discussions with Lyon over minority investment

Asvel, the French Pro A basketball team owned by French National Basketball Association (NBA) legend Tony Parker, has confirmed it is hopeful of securing a minority investment from Ligue 1 side Lyon.

The Villeurbanne-based team is searching for extra investment after it gained a wild card place in the top-tier continental EuroLeague basketball competition for the next two years.

Asvel majority shareholder and president Parker said he was hopeful of doing a deal with Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas.

“I always had a good feeling with Jean-Michel Aulas. I always had a lot of respect for what he did with [Lyon],” he told reporters. “Jean-Michel is a pioneer. We have always been very well aligned with our vision of business and sport.”

Lyon later confirmed the two parties were in “exclusive discussions” for Lyon to acquire the minority stake, and that any deal will have to be concluded by June.

“This period of exclusivity will extend until June 30, 2019. This acquisition of participation would allow the rapprochement of two emblematic clubs of the metropolis of Lyon,” the club said.

Participation in the semi-closed EuroLeague competition has proven expensive for clubs in the past. Although the competition promises greater TV and sponsorship riches than the second-tier EuroCup continental club competition and the rival Fiba-run Basketball Champions League, teams have often overstretched themselves trying to buy the players to be competitive in the higher division. Even last year’s EuroLeague winners, Real Madrid, made a €28.9m loss for the 2017-18 season.