City Football Group (CFG), the owner of football related clubs and businesses including Manchester City FC, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, and a minority shareholder in Yokohama F. Marinos, announced a partnership with a consortium of high profile Chinese institutional investors led by China’s leading media, entertainment, sports and Internet dedicated investment and operating company CMC (China Media Capital) Holdings. The deal will create an unprecedented platform for the growth of CFG clubs and companies in China and internationally, borne out of CFG’s ability to provide a wealth of industry expertise and resources to the rapidly developing Chinese football industry.
The agreement will see the consortium of CMC Holdings and CITIC Capital invest US$400 million to take a shareholding in City Football Group of just over 13%. The deal values the group at US$3 billion. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval in some territories. The capital from the share acquisition will be used by City Football Group to fund its China growth.
The deal will see new shares issued in City Football Group in addition to the ones held by the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), the investment and development company privately owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and prior to this transaction the sole shareholder of City Football Group.
CMC will represent the consortium at Board level with Mr. Ruigang Li, the Chairman of CMC becoming a member of the City Football Group Holding Company Board – which as a result of the agreement, will increase from six to seven members.
Speaking about the partnership, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of City Football Group said: “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.”
On behalf of the investing consortium, CMC Chairman Ruigang Li said: “Football is now at a fascinating and critical stage of development in China. We see unprecedented growth opportunities in both its development as an industry, being China’s most watched sport, and its inspirational role bringing people of all ages together with a shared passion. CMC has long been dedicated to creating opportunities that facilitate positive developments in Chinese football from different aspects within the ecosystem. With its unique business model and distinct successes, City Football Group, whom we have come to know well, represents a differentiated systematic approach to building a global platform for football know-how, player development, academy programmes and commercial partnerships that will benefit China’s football industry on multiple levels. 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.”