Thu, Nov 28, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Man City owners attract Silver Lake investment

‘GLOBAL PLATFORM’:The private equity firm is to buy just more than 10 percent of Abu Dhabi-controlled City Football Group, which owns the Premier League club

Reuters, PARIS

US private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC has agreed to invest US$500 million in the owners of English soccer champions Manchester City, valuing the Premier League club’s owner at US$4.8 billion.

Silver Lake would buy just more than 10 percent of Abu Dhabi-controlled City Football Group (CFG), which owns Manchester City, the companies said yesterday, confirming a report in the Financial Times newspaper.

Europe’s top soccer clubs have drawn in big money from some of the world’s richest investors over the past decade, as the game attracts more fans in lucrative markets such as Asia, the US and the Middle East.

The clubs’ property portfolios are also often seen as lucrative assets.

Manchester City’s big domestic rivals Manchester United are owned by the American Glazer family, while Chelsea are owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are owned by Qatar Sports Investments.

“Silver Lake is a global leader in technology investing, and we are delighted by both the validation that their investment in CFG represents, and the opportunities for further growth that their partnership brings,” group chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak said in a statement.

The group said none of its shareholders were selling equity stakes as part of the deal.

It added that Abu Dhabi United Group, the investment vehicle owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, would remain the majority CFG shareholder with a stake of about 77 percent.

Manchester City this month reported record high 2018-2019 revenue of £535.2 million (US$689.2 million) in a fifth consecutive year of profitability. Silver Lake managing director Egon Durban would join the board of CFG.

“We are excited to invest in CFG, which is redefining soccer globally and in doing so has successfully built an impressive global platform of marquee soccer clubs across five continents,” Durban said in a statement.

Manchester City spent much of the 1990s in the doldrums, often out of England’s top-flight league and far behind Manchester United, who remain England’s record league title holders with 20.

However, the influx of Middle Eastern cash has since led to a revival in Manchester City’s fortunes.

The team, managed by former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, won an unprecedented domestic treble last season — the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup.

However, unlike Manchester United and Liverpool, Manchester City is yet to win Europe’s most prestigious title, the UEFA Champions League.

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