Elan Béarnais Paul-Lacq-Orthez, nine times French basketball champion, has been taken over by the investment fund CounterPointe Sport Group (CSG), club president David Bonnemason-Carrère, the mayor, said on Monday by video conference. de Pau François Bayrou and three representatives of CSG.
The American company, represented by Tom Huston, Greg Heuss and Stu Jackson, has pledged to pay 800,000 euros to acquire a majority stake in this club with a prestigious past. It will change from the status of mixed economy company (SEM), of which the main shareholder was until then the local communities, to that of professional sporting company (SASP). This disposal project must still be validated in city council and community council next week.
“It is first and foremost a sports and heritage project. It is about giving the club the means for rapid progress in the French league and then on the European scene, ”explained François Bayrou, mayor of Pau and president of the Pau-Béarn-Pyrénées agglomeration community. “The commitment (of the Americans) is to bring the budget to 7 million euros from the first season, or 20% more than this season. We (local authorities, editor’s note) will also make sure to help the club in its progress, ”he added.
The parties had been in exclusive discussions for many months. “The exchanges (with CSG) were intense and long but they were necessary before getting married, to understand each other and to assess the desires and possibilities of each one”, underlined David Bonnemason-Carrère, who will remain as president of the club.
To this takeover of the club, CSG wishes to add a real estate project. Land was thus transferred to it near the Palais des sports de Pau (8,000 seats), in particular to build a hotel and a residence for young athletes.
CounterPointe Sports Group, founded in 2019, includes among its ranks Jamal Mashburn, a former NBA player who passed through Dallas, Miami and Charlotte and who made his fortune in business after his career. Rick Pitino, star coach of American college basketball, also passed through the New York and Boston benches in the NBA, and Stu Jackson, who coached for a long time in the NBA before becoming manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies and then executive vice-president of the NBA, make also part of CSG’s Pau project.