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Russian tycoon buys majority stake in AS Monaco

Billionaire businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev has become the latest Russian tycoon to take over a European football club, acquiring a majority stake in seven-time French champions AS Mondaco.

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REUTERS - Billionaire Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev acquired a majority stake in second-tier French club AS Monaco on Friday.

“The company Monaco Sport Invest (MSI), linked to businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, has signed a deal to become the majority shareholder of AS Monaco,” the seven-times champions said in a statement.

The 45-year-old tycoon, ranked 93rd on the Forbes list of billionaires, has pledged to invest at least 100 million euros ($130 million) in the club over the next four years.

Rybolovlev, who sold his stake in fertiliser producer Uralkali for $6.5 billion in June 2010, acquired 66.67 percent of Monaco.

“I am a passionate football fan,” said the Russian. “Having lived long enough in Monaco I realise the club is not just one of the principality’s sports teams but also represents one of the main symbols of the principality, its pride and traditions.

“I think this club has enormous potential. I hope it can now realise this potential both domestically and in Europe.”

Monaco reached the 2004 Champions League final but were relegated from the top flight at the end of last season and are now bottom of Ligue 2 with 13 points from 18 games.

Prince Albert II, Monaco’s head of state, welcomed the deal.

“The agreement opens a new page in the history of the football team so dear to the principality,” said the Prince.

“I hope the club can rediscover its former prestige which made it one of the jewels of Monaco’s sporting life.” 

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