Man City sells 13% to Chinese investors
Manchester City’s parent company has been valued at $3bn (£2bn) after selling a 13% stake, worth £265m, to a consortium of Chinese investors.
It comes after six months of talks and is aimed at expanding CFG’s interests in the Chinese football industry.
New shares will be issued in CFG in addition to those held by its owner, Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG).
Chinese state visit
CFG is an investment and development company which is privately owned by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family. It also includes New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and Yokohama Marinos.
The move will offer the chance for Man City and the other group clubs to grow a fan base in East Asia, where there is huge competition between top clubs in Europe, and beyond, to build up supporter numbers.
The ultimate aim is to turn those football fans into customers of club products and services too.
The move follows a visit to Manchester in October by the President of China, Xi Jinping.
Ruigang Li, who founded and chairs both the Chinese firms, will represent their consortium by becoming the seventh CFG board member.
This deal is big news for Manchester City, but I am told it is absolutely not the start of an exit strategy from the current owners. China has long been viewed as having huge potential for growth commercially.
In China, an area where only Real Madrid of the established European heavyweights has a significant presence, CMC Holdings will provide contacts to open the right doors to the right opportunities.
If their Abu Dhabi ownership is any guide, City’s presence in China will expand rapidly.
It is also worth noting that through this deal, including satellite clubs New York City FC, Melbourne City and Yokohama Marinos, City are now worth approximately 10 times more than Sheikh Mansour bought the club for in 2008.
“Football is the most loved, played and watched sport in the world and in China, the exponential growth pathway for the game is both unique and hugely exciting,” said Khaldoon al-Mubarak, chairman of CFG.
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