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Entrepreneur, businessman Peladeau becomes new Alouettes owner

Montreal Alouettes helmet Montreal Alouettes helmet - David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MONTREAL — Pierre Karl Peladeau is the new owner of the Montreal Alouettes.

The Montreal businessman was unveiled as the franchise owner by the CFL at a news conference at Olympic Stadium on Friday. Peladeau, the president/chief executive officer of Quebecor Inc., has a reported net worth of US$1.9 billion.

Peladeau, a former leader of the Parti Québécois, will represent the Alouettes as their lead governor on the CFL's board of governors.

"I'm proud to run a large company which has been involved in the Montreal business and the Montreal community. My father told me that when you receive so much, you need to give as much as possible," said Peladeau. "The Montreal Alouettes is not only a business, it's more than a business. It's about community investment. It's about being here, being strong and creating (something) Montrealers can be proud of."

The move comes just over a week after the CFL entered into an exclusive negotiation with Peladeau regarding ownership of the franchise.

“Our goal in this process was to put the Alouettes on a path to long-term success, ideally under strong, local ownership," said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

"This is a special day for this incredible franchise, its fans across Quebec, and the city of Montreal. Pierre Karl and his passion for sports, entertainment and his community are remarkable. I know he will do a tremendous job in stewarding the Alouettes."

The CFL took over operation of the Alouettes last month, appointing former president Mario Cecchini as interim president. Cecchini and Park Lane, the CFL's investment banking partner, helped facilitate the search for a franchise owner.

But Cecchini won't remain with the Alouettes under Peladeau's ownership. Earlier this week, he was appointed commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Peladeau said hiring a new president will not be a quick process.

"I'm not saying we'll take three years but you'll need to give us a few days or a few weeks to take the necessary steps," he said Friday. "We've identified candidates and it's important to take the necessary time in order to fully understand the objective."

The CFL also assumed control of the Alouettes on May 31, 2019 from Robert and Andrew Wetenhall. The league sold the franchise to Ontario businessmen Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern, Spiegel's son-in-law, in January 2020.

But Spiegel died in July 2021 having never seen the club play as the CFL didn't operate in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

Spiegel's estate had maintained a 75 per cent ownership stake in the franchise, with Stern assuming the other 25 per cent. Last August, Stern announced he was stepping away from day-to-day operations with the team and leaving his position on the CFL board of governors.

However, Stern did not give up his ownership stake in the franchise.

​​Cecchini was originally hired as Alouettes president in 2020, signing a three-year contract. But last December, Cecchini was informed by Spiegel's estate that his deal wouldn't be renewed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2023.