PARIS (Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake has agreed to invest $500 million in the owners of English soccer champions Manchester City, valuing the Premier League club’s owner at $4.8 billion.
Silver Lake will buy just over 10% of Abu Dhabi-controlled City Football Group (CFG), which owns Manchester City, the companies said on Wednesday, 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 last decade, as the game attracts more and more fans in lucrative markets such as Asia, the United States and the Middle East.
The clubs’ property portfolios are also often seen as lucrative assets.
Man City’s big domestic rival Manchester United (N:) are owned by the American Glazer family, while Chelsea is 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,” City Football Group Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement.
City Football Group said none of its existing shareholders were selling equity stakes as part of the Silver Lake 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 around 77%.
Man City this month reported record high 2018-19 revenue of 535.2 million pounds ($687 million) in a fifth consecutive year of profitability.
Silver Lake Managing Director Egon Durban will join the board of City Football Group.
“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, which remains England’s record league title holders with 20 championship titles.
However, the influx of Middle Eastern cash has since led to a revival in Man City’s fortunes.
The team, managed by former Barcelona man Pep Guardiola, won an unprecedented domestic treble last season – the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the League Cup.
Unlike Manchester United and Liverpool, however, Man City is yet to win Europe’s most prestigious title, the Champions League.
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