City Football Group, which owns Manchester City, has announced a new partnership with a consortium of Chinese investors led by China Media Capital (CMC) Holdings. CMC Holdings is China’s leading media, entertainment, sports and internet dedicated investment and operating company, and along with CITIC Capital will invest US$400m to buy a stake of 13% in a deal which values City Football Group at US$3 billion.
The move will allow City Football Group (CFG) to further their global presence and will create a platform for the growth of the CFG clubs and companies in China and internationally. Aside from Manchester City, CFG also owns MLS club New York City FC, Melbourne City FC of Australia’s A-League as well as being a minority shareholder in Japanese J-League club Yokohama F Marinos.
The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval in some territories, is a result of over six months of discussions among the parties to find the perfect model and operational strategies of the partnership.
A statement on Manchester City’s official website read: “The capital from the share acquisition will be used by City Football Group to fund its China growth, further CFG international business expansion opportunities and further develop CFG infrastructure assets.
“The CFG/CMC partnership is predicated on the opportunity to create new value for CFG in China and beyond by working with CMC, CITIC Capital and the Chinese football industry.
“To that end, CMC and CITIC Capital representatives and CFG executives have already been working together, along with third parties, to identify and implement China-based initiatives for the CFG portfolio of clubs and companies.”
The deal will see new shares issued to the consortium in CFG. Currently all the shares are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, the company privately owned by Sheikh Mansour, who will no longer be the sole owner of CFG.
CFG chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has talked up the new partnership, which he believes will help make the most of the “incredible potential” of China for both the game of football and CFG.
“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. We have therefore worked hard to find the right partners and to create the right deal structure to leverage the incredible potential that exists in China, both for CFG and for football at large,” said Al Mubarak.
CMC will be represented at the executive level by its chairman, Ruigang Li, who has spoken highly of the partnership as an opportunity for China to contribute to the global football family.
“Football is now at a fascinating and critical stage of development in China.
“We and our consortium partner CITIC Capital also see this investment as a prime opportunity for furthering the contribution of China to the global football family,” said Li.