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Gloucester discuss potential investment with Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad

Gloucester have confirmed discussions with Mohed Altrad - billionaire owner of French Top 14 club Montpellier - about "a potential shareholder interest" in the Aviva Premiership outfit.

Gloucester, though, stressed that in the event of any investment, both clubs would remain separate entities.

Altrad is understood to be aiming to add a controlling stake in Gloucester to his ownership of Montpellier.

Gloucester recently refused to deny the links, and on Wednesday, the west country club said: "Gloucester Rugby can confirm that there have been discussions with Mohed Altrad with regards to a potential shareholder interest in the club.

"Any agreement would need to have the consent of the relevant regulatory bodies, and currently there is no agreement entered into, or guarantee of an investment.

"In the event of any investment, both Gloucester Rugby and Montpellier will remain separate entities, independent and autonomous from each other.

"Both clubs would be extremely keen on maintaining their own identity, culture and governance.

"Any potential investment in Gloucester Rugby would be seen as an important opportunity to develop the club, the players and make an important contribution to the community, priorities the Board has always evoked.

"Gloucester Rugby remain committed to keeping supporters informed with regards to any developments."

Altrad would require clearance from English, French and global rugby bodies in order to pull off ownership of both Top 14 and Premiership clubs.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU), French Rugby Federation (FFR) and World Rugby would have to sanction any deal for Altrad to take control at Gloucester while also holding on to his status quo at Montpellier.

Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) would also need to ratify any deal.

Gloucester owner Martin St Quinton only completed his full takeover of the Kingsholm club in February, having been a major shareholder since 2008.

St Quinton assumed sole control of Gloucester earlier this year by purchasing the other main shareholding from the Walkinshaw family. Former Arrows F1 team owner Tom Walkinshaw saved Gloucester from financial ruin in the early professional era, purchasing the club in 1997.

Walkinshaw died in 2010 after a battle with cancer, and his son Ryan took control of Gloucester.

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