The billionaire son of an agriculture titan has made his first big-money move, revealed to be the man behind a dramatic football takeover.
The billionaire son of an agriculture titan has made his first big-money move, revealed to be the man behind a dramatic football takeover.

Young heir to $7b empire is unmasked

The 23-year-old heir to a $7 billion fortune has been revealed after a dramatic football take-over.

The rising businessman is the heir apparent to his late father Robert Louis-Dreyfus' worldwide agriculture, food processing and international shipping empire.

The son has now made a giant splash of his own after a big-money take-over of English football club Sunderland, The Sun reports.

An agreement to buy the majority of Stewart Donald's stake in the League One club was agreed last year.

The story is set to be another extraordinary chapter in the history of the basket case club, and should make riveting viewing for fans of the Netflix documentary following the fallen giant.

Netflix's hugely popular Sunderland 'Til I die documentary shows Louis-Dreyfus has his work cut out to turn the team's fortunes around.

His first act has been to appoint himself chairman of the board.

He will lead the club alongside Stewart Donald, Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven, who retain minority shareholding of the Mackems.

He has developed a taste for football after his father was Marseille's largest shareholder from 1996 until his death from leukaemia in 2009.

When he passed, control of the club was handed over to wife Margarita, who is now ranked as Russia's sixth richest woman.

 

In 2016, Margarita sold Marseille to American businessman Frank McCourt, but a five per cent stake was kept for Kyril.

And with football in his blood, Kyril spent his time studying the business aspects of the game on a course in Yorkshire.

The ambitious investor has the backing of the Louis Dreyfus Company.

In its recent financial year it recorded an amazing £33.6billion in sales. But Kyril and his twin brother Maurice, who is a DJ in Zurich, were made to realise that they couldn't just spend their family money from a young age.

Wanting them to be well-rounded individuals, the mother insisted they went on trips around the world to see what the business does first-hand.

They toured plantations and juice factories in Brazil, went to Russia and spent some time in boarding school in Singapore.

But it was football that was always going to be Kyril's number one interest.

Kyril often accompanied his father to the Stade Velodrome, where he saw Marseilles enjoy some success.

Even though he was in Singapore at boarding school in 2012, he flew back for an all-important last-16 Champions League tie the French side were playing against Inter Milan.

They won too. "That was worth it," he was reported as saying to media after.

Louis-Dreyfus also grew close to some of the playing staff, often visiting the club's dressing room to talk to the stars.

BREATHING LIFE INTO A CLUB ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE

As a business, Sunderland was run into the ground by Ellis Short - with the club saddled with a debt of around £200million and losing £35million per-year.

The ship has been steadied in recent years, but Kyril will need to know everything about football as a business to ensure that doesn't happen again, as the club attempt to restore their Premier League status from League One.

He is an avid player of Football Manager, the popular video game, which puts the gamers in charge of a club. But this is different.

His education at the Yorkshire campus of the Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy could hold him in good stead though.

In 2017, Kyril began studying sport and business management at the Leeds Beckett University for a year, before moving to Richmond, London for his second year.

Although he's only 23, Kyril is mature beyond his years.

Last summer, he got engaged to his beautiful girlfriend Alexandra Nowikovsky.

Marseilles might have been his first love, but Alexandra is clearly his new one - with the pair all smiles on a glam ski trip in Switzerland over New Year's.

His next project, however, won't be organising his glitzy nuptials. He'll dedicate his time to Sunderland.

"I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it," he said in the club's official statement.

He continued: "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."

- This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission

Originally published as 23yo heir to $7b empire unmasked



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