Hogan Lovells helps steer landmark global women's soccer agreement for Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang

Hogan Lovells helps steer landmark global women's soccer agreement for Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang

Press releases | 16 May 2023

New York, Washington, D.C., 16 May, 2023 – Global law firm Hogan Lovells has guided client Michele Kang, controlling owner of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit, in a groundbreaking agreement with OL Groupe that will see the creation of the world’s first woman-owned multi-national, multi-team women’s football organization.

In an all-stock deal, OL Groupe will contribute its women’s team, OL Féminin, winners of eight Champions’ League and 15 French D1 Arkema league titles, and Kang, through YMK Holdings, will contribute the majority share of the 2021 NWSL champion Washington Spirit to create a new independent entity. YMK Holdings will hold the majority interest in the new entity.  OL Groupe will continue to support the new entity through the provision of services including the use of Groupama Stadium, Groupama OL Training Center, and OL Academy. This new global platform will look to acquire additional clubs in other countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Kang will also join OL Groupe’s Board of Directors.

Speaking about the agreement, Kang commented: “This deal represents a major step forward in the history of women’s professional football. It brings together the unparalleled tradition of the 8-time Champions League winning OL Féminin and the dynamism of the 2021 NWSL Champion Spirit to usher our sport into a new era… It is a great honor to take stewardship of OL Féminin and lead this unprecedented effort on behalf of the fans, players and staff of both teams.”

Kang,  businesswoman, investor, and philanthropist, became the controlling owner of the Washington Spirit in 2022, a deal that was also guided by Hogan Lovells and was nominated for “Deal of the Year” by Sports Business Journal, one of several transactions that led to the team being named among Law360’s 2022 Practice Groups Of The Year. More about that deal can be found here.

Hogan Lovells’ globally recognized Sports Team represented Kang in this transatlantic deal. The Hogan Lovells team was co-led by Steve Argeris and Robert Welp, with support in the United States from  Mark Weinstein, senior associates Emma Dowell and Rachel Shelbourne, and associates CJ Harrington and Danielle Litwak. A European team in Paris also supported the agreement, co-led by Matthieu Grollemund and Emmanuel Vrillon-Darcy, with support from Mikael Salmela, and associates Ombeline Despres and Daghan Ozturk.