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SBD Global/November 20, 2017/Franchises

Chemical Company Ineos Founder Buys Swiss Side Lausanne-Sport

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Chemical company Ineos Founder Jim Ratcliffe "joined the ranks of tycoons who have made ownership of European football clubs de rigueur" when his group bought a team in Switzerland last week, according to Michael Pooler of the FINANCIAL TIMES. But "where others have swooped on big-name clubs" such as Chelsea, Man City or Paris St. Germain, the Brexit backer’s signing is the "less well-known" Swiss Super League side Lausanne-Sport. Ineos Football CEO David Thompson said, "Today the club is in the middle of the Swiss Super League -- there's no reason it cannot end up in the top four. Our target is in four years' time to have a team that can qualify for European football." It is "just the latest eye-catching move outside of its core activities" by a business better known for refineries, chemical works and oilfields. Ineos is "now diversifying with a string of unusual ventures." Last month, the company paid an undisclosed sum for Belstaff, a luxury British leatherwear purveyor. Not long before, it announced plans to "start manufacturing from scratch" what Ratcliffe called the "spiritual successor" to the Land Rover Defender. Ineos said that the purchase of Lausanne-Sport, "which enjoyed its glory days" between the '30s and '60s, followed several years of investing in youth and community sports in Canton Vaud, where it has HQ for many of its businesses. It is "not looking to make a profit from the club" or run it as a “business proposition” (FT, 11/17).
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