French soccer club ownership company OL Groupe has announced it has finalized the sale of its entire 97% stake in North American women’s soccer side Seattle Reign FC of the top-tier NWSL.

A consortium that includes investment firm Carlyle, and men’s soccer side Seattle Sounders, have purchased 100% of OL Groupe’s shares in Reign FC for a price of $58 million, subject to approvals from the board of governors of the NWSL and its men’s soccer equivalent, MLS.

The Seattle Sounders MLS side is owned by US businessman Adrian Hanauer and through the purchase of the Reign is set to consolidate his Seattle-based sports holdings.

Hanauer is also a minority stakeholder in the city’s Seattle Kraken ice hockey team and previously held a minority stake in the Reign which was purchased by OL Groupe in 2019.

Following OL Groupe’s purchase of the team, it had been known as OL Reign through the end of the 2023 season, when it was renamed following the group's admission that it was seeking a sale.

OL Groupe owner, John Textor’s Eagle Football Group, stated it will utilize the funds from the Reign’s sale to balance the books for its beleaguered men’s side Olympique Lyonnais of France’s top-tier Ligue 1.

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Lyon had approximately $342 million of debt when it was sold to US businessman Eagle Group in December 2022. Since then, Textor, who also owns Belgian soccer’s RWD Molenbeek and Brazil’s Botafogo, has desperately sought to balance its books.

France’s National Directorate of Management Control (DNCG) had taken control of Lyon’s finances through sanctions in the summer of 2022 but the sale of the Reign has now seen that penalty lowered to merely financial supervision.

OL Groupe also sold the majority of its stake in its French women’s soccer team, OL Femenin, to concentrate funds on the men’s side.

As a majority stake in OL Femenin was sold to Michelle Kang, who also owns the NWSL’s Washington Spirit, the sale of Reign FC also resolves a conflict of interest issue as OL Groupe still holds a minority stake in OL Femenin.

OL Groupe stated of the sale: “This transaction is in line with the group's strategy, in particular the refocusing on men's football… OL Groupe is delighted with this transaction as it ensures a locally-led group will continue OL Groupe's successful development of the Seattle franchise.”