French authorities have approved the sale of Nice to Britain's richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe on Wednesday for just over €100 million, sources have told ESPN FC -- making the Riviera's club the most expensive ever in French football history.
Ratcliffe, the founder and CEO of chemical giant Ineos, was waiting for the green light from the DNCG, the organisation responsible for monitoring and overseeing the accounts of professional clubs in France, which has a say in every takeover in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2.
The English businessman, worth around €21 billion, was confident that his takeover offer would be ratified but he still had to wait for the official announcement. The sale should be officially announced in the next two weeks, according to a source.
Ratcliffe, and his brother Robert who is heavily involved in the project, must also get approval from the Competition and Markets Authority. It is expected that he will get that approval as he doesn't own any other French club.
Nice's current owners, Chien Lee and Alex Zheng, were reluctant to sell Nice and rejected two offers from Ratcliffe before accepting the latest one.
The final price would be significantly more than the €79m spent by the Qatar royal family to buy Paris Saint-Germain in July 2011 or the €45m paid out by American businessman Frank McCourt for the acquisition of Marseille in September 2016. Other transactions of French clubs in recent months include Bordeaux (€95m) and Lille (€80m).
Among Sir Ratcliffe's other sports ventures include Swiss football club Lausanne Sport, the Team Ineos cycling team (formerly Team Sky), and has backed financially Sir Ben Ainslie for the next America's Cup sailing competition.