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Gloucester welcome talks if 'right investment' found amid Montpellier boss links

Montpellier owner Mohamed Altrad could bid for a majority shareholding in Aviva Premiership club Gloucester Rugby.

Billionaire business mogul Altrad is understood to be aiming to add a controlling stake in Gloucester to his ownership of French Top 14 giants Montpellier.

Gloucester issued a statement on Monday reacting to speculation surrounding Altrad's interest in the Kingsholm club.

Gloucester refused to deny the links, but also reiterated majority shareholder Martin St Quinton's commitment to the Cherry and Whites.

"Gloucester Rugby are aware of the speculation from various media channels linking the club with a potential majority shareholder interest," read Gloucester's statement.

"The board of Gloucester Rugby have always stated that if the right investment to take the club forward is found that we would welcome discussions.

"Martin St Quinton and the executive team are committed to the future of the club, and if there are significant strategic benefits that can be sought by introducing the right people to the club who share our drive and ambition then we will act in the best interest of the club.

"The club will be making no further comment at this stage."

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.

The European tournament bosses would have to give the move the green light, in order to ward off any potential conflict of interest.

Gloucester owner 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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