Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus: Who is he?

Louis-Dreyfus

Sunderland fans have been forced to wait patiently for the arrival of a new owner but Kyril Louis-Dreyfus' takeover is now officially complete. 

Talk of a takeover from Steward Donald has been rumbling on for well over twelve months. 

Speculation regarding Donald's future started to snowball in 2019, and the club posted an official statement on 7 January 2020 to confirm that the process of trying to sell the club was underway. 

By the end of 2020 the club announced that they had found a buyer for the club, with Louis-Dreyfus named as the man set to acquire controlling interest of the Black Cats. 

Following an anxious wait for official approval from the English Football League, Louis-Dreyfus, who is just 23 years old, was finally confirmed as the new chairman and majority shareholder on Thursday nearly two months after news broke regarding his proposed takeover. 

In light of the news, Sunderland's new figurehead released a statement outlining his optimism for the future of the club. 

“I would like to thank Stewart, the Board of Directors and the EFL for their diligence and support throughout the recent process. I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it.

"Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Sunderland AFC’s history and although the current landscape facing football dictates that there are challenges to overcome, I am confident that together we can weather the present storm and put solid foundations in place to bring sustainable and long-term success to the club.”

Who is Kyril Louis-Dreyfus? 

You may be wondering how a 23 year old Frenchman has managed to wind up as the majority shareholder of an English League One outfit. 

The Louis-Dreyfus family are renowned in the football world.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus, Kyril's late father, was the majority shareholder at Marseille from 1996 up until his passing in 2009. 

His wife Margerita took control of the club following his death and she is now ranked as the sixth richest woman in Russia. 

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Clearly, football business runs in the blood of Sunderland's new owner and, while his age may give cause for concern, his upbringing has clearly provided some insight into the demands and expectations of such a high-pressure position. 

He previously moved to England and studied sport and business management at Leeds Becket University, but he dropped out of his four-year course just two years after starting in 2017.

Away from the business side of things, Louis-Dreyfus has made some friends in high places. 

He used to accompany his father to Marseille matches at the Stade Velodrome and got to know some of the playing staff by visiting the dressing room to speak with the players. 

Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy, who spent three years at Marseille between 2013 and 2016, as well as Florian Thauvin, both considered Kyril to be a younger brother-like figure. 

A quick glance through Louis-Dreyfus' Instagram shows him pictured alongside Mendy back in July 2018, while he's also been snapped at parties with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, Formula One star Lewis Hamilton and French football icon Franck Ribery. 

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How much is Louis-Dreyfus worth?

Following years of decline and Netflix-induced public humiliation, Sunderland fans will be daring to dream of a bright future under the new ownership.

Though it remains to be seen how aggressively Louis-Dreyfus will be willing to spend in the transfer market, there is plenty of evidence to suggest he's in a strong place financially. 

The Louis-Dreyfus company is a colossal global empire spanning across multiple industries, including agriculture, food processing and international shipping. 

According to The Sun, the company recorded a staggering £33.6 billion in sales during its most recent financial year, while the Sunderland owner is heir to a fortune worth £4 billion. 

Though his mother Margarita eventually sold Marseille in 2016, Kyril kept his 5% stake in the Ligue 1 giants. 

Following years of turmoil at the Stadium of Light, perhaps Louis-Dreyfus is the unlikely saviour Sunderland need to transform their fortunes. 

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