China Media Capital snaps up Formula E

The Chinese firm also owns City Football Group as well as media rights to broadcast China’s national football games.

Beijing-based private equity firm China Media Capital (CMC) Partners has acquired Formula E Holdings, the official promoter of FIA Formula E Championship auto racing, according to a company statement.

CMC made the investment alongside sports marketing company SECA, a unit of CMC.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed but media reports indicate the investment value is in the “tens of millions of euros”.

Formula E was launched in September 2014 and is the world's first fully-electric single-seater racing series. Its races have taken place in Hong Kong, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, London, New York and Montreal.

With the latest investment, CMC and SECA will help expand Formula E’s presence in China, CMC Partners chairman Li Ruigang said in a statement.

“Since its inauguration three years ago, Formula E has quickly evolved into a premium global sports IP under a first-class leadership, with remarkable progress in promoting sustainability, innovation, and market penetration of electric vehicles, as well as in media partnership, sponsorship and tourism,” Li added. “CMC has been focusing on investing in premium global and local sports IPs, and we look forward to working together with Formula E both in China and globally.”

Commenting on the deal Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Formula E, said: “China is an important player in the potential of electric vehicle manufacturing and production, and this partnership reinforces our intentions to promote sustainable mobility across Asia and mainland China.”

CMC has been an active investor in sports-related companies. In December 2015, the firm teamed up with CITIC Capital Holdings to buy 13 percent of City Football Group, which owns the Manchester City FC franchise along with other soccer-related assets. Earlier that year, the firm’s sports portfolio company bought four-year media rights to broadcast games by China’s national football teams, and also picked up stakes in Eumedia, the Guangdong-based operator of the China University Football League.

The firm is set to hold a final close on latest fund, China Media Capital Partners II, on its $500 million target, as previously reported by Private Equity International. The fund will target opportunities in technology, media and telecommunications sectors in China.