Controversial rugby magnate Mourad Boudjellal is set to relinquish his majority share in RC Toulon.
Reports from France suggest that Boudjellal is set to sell his shares to Bernard LeMaitre – a pharmaceutical multi-millionaire.
LeMaitre already owns 44 per cent of the famous club, and the sale of Boudjellal’s controlling share will mean he will become Toulon’s effective owner.
LeMaitre made his money with LeMaitre Vascular and his personal wealth is estimated at close to €200 million.
Change of ownership of the shares is set to take place on Monday, although Boudjellal will continue as Toulon club president.
Boudjellal’s time with Toulon has been marked by both controversy and success in equal measure. The club won three European Champions Cups and a Top 14 in 2014, but his outbursts have frequently made headlines.
His treatment of All Black Julian Savea last season was widely condemned by players past and present.
Savea’s bumper salary – believed to be a million euros per season – was a trigger for Boudjellal who believed he wasn’t getting a return ‘at that rate’.
“At one point, it was him or me! Quit paying someone as much … especially at that rate.
“I may have been too harsh with him, but I am someone excessive and whole. I never shower with lukewarm water,” Boudjellal told Midi Olympique in May.
Toulon’s disastrous season saw the club fail to get out of the pool stages of the European Champions Cup for the first time, with losing to the bottom-placed Premiership club Newcastle Falcons at home a low point. They finished 10th place in the Top 14 with their worst placing since they were promoted.
“The RCT has never been so poorly ranked in the Top 14 since I was president! I would love to remake the Toulon Laporte years with, at least, one final per year. I’m working on it, by the way,” he said.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now