Football: Chinese Wanda Group buy 20% stake in Atletico Madrid
China’s Wanda Group continue to expand their sporting interests after acquiring a 20 per cent stake in La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, worth a reported 44.98 million euros, ($48.38m/£32.63m), the club announced on Tuesday.
“Wanda Madrid Investment, who are part of the international group Dalian Wanda, have officially become a share holder in Atletico Madrid, after acquiring 726,707 shares representing 20 per cent of the club’s capital for the sum of 44,983,163.30 euros,” read a statement on the club’s website.
Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin, a diehard football fan, said his company was delighted at their deal.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the journey of Atletico Madrid who have a solid fan base and are an international brand who have enjoyed a rapid international rise,” said Wang in a statement published on Atletico’s site.
Last January, club president Enrique Cerezo met Wang in Beijing to put into place the agreement and purchase.
According to the terms, Atletico will set up a football academy in Spain for young Chinese players while the team will also tour China in the years to come.
Wang’s love of football has paid handsome dividends before. His Wanda Group greatly increased its profile in China after he bought a Dalian football club in 1994, renamed it after the firm, and transformed it into the strongest team in China.
In February, the Wanda Group agreed to buy Infront — the Swiss sports marketing group headed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s nephew and which holds some broadcasting rights to the World Cup — for 1.05 billion euros ($1.2 billion).
The Chinese property and entertainment conglomerate is looking to increase its influence in the global sports business, as Beijing bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics while rumours swirl that China could seek to host the 2026 football World Cup.
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