Manchester City Sells $500m Stake to US Equity Firm

By Adedapo Adesanya

Top flight English football club, Manchester City, has agreed to sell a $500 million (£389.4m) stake in the club to US private equity firm, Silver Lake, in a deal that will make it the world’s most valuable football club with a worth of $4.8 billion.

The deal will see Silver Lake buy 10 percent of City Football Group (CFG), who owns Manchester City as well as clubs in the United States, China, and Australia, it was disclosed on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by CFG, the investment from Silver Lake would be used to “fund international business growth opportunities and develop further CFG technology and infrastructure assets.”

Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the CFG chairman, said: “We and Silver Lake share the strong belief in the opportunities being presented by the convergence of entertainment, sports and technology and the resulting ability for CFG to generate long-term growth and new revenue streams globally.”

With this deal, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is still the majority shareholder in the club, owning 77 percent, while 12 percent is held by a Chinese consortium, headed up by conglomerate CMC Inc while almost all the shares acquired by Silver Lake come from Mansour.

CFG, which also owns stakes in New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay, Girona FC in Spain and Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China, said none of its existing shareholders were selling equity stakes as part of the Silver Lake deal.

According to The Financial Times, the Silver Lake deal was signed on Saturday, while Silver Lake managing partner Egon Durban was watching City’s win over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

It is no big news that English clubs are owned by foreign investors, according to Reuters, Chinese investors paid $400 million for a 13 percent stake in CFG four years ago, valuing the group at $3 billion at that time.

Manchester City’s big domestic rival Manchester United are majority owned by the American Glazer family and are valued at $2.8 billion while Chelsea are owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

America’s Fenway Sports Group controls current European champions Liverpool and French champions Paris Saint Germain are owned by Qatar Sports Investments.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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