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CITIC and CMC invest in City Football Group

The $400m investment in the Abu Dhabi-owned football business values it at $3 billion and will help it expand in China.

Chinese private equity firms CITIC Capital and China Media Capital (CMC) Holdings have agreed to invest $400 million to acquire 13 percent of City Football Group (CFG). CFG is the owner of several football clubs and businesses such as Manchester City Football Club, New York City Football Club, Melbourne City Football Club and a minority shareholder in Japanese football association Yokohama F. Marinos.

The deal values the Abu Dhabi-owned CFG at $3 billion, according to a statement. The new investors expect to create an ‘unprecedented platform’ for the growth of CFG clubs and companies in China and internationally.

The two firms are investing in the group after almost six months of talks. The deal however remains subject to regulatory approvals in some territories.

Speaking about the partnership, chairman of CFG Khaldoon Al Mubarak 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.”

Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan bought Manchester City in 2008 for $400 million and has expanded the club to create the City Football Group including teams in New York, Melbourne and Yokohama. The club had also won the English Premier League in 2012 and 2014.

CMC already owns a slate of sports media rights, including Chinese Super League, China Football Association “Team of China” and China University Football League. It is also involved in sports production, event management and data service through its portfolio companies. Ruigang Li, chairman of CMC will join the board of City Football Group.

CITIC Capital manages over $5 billion of assets from a diverse group of international and Chinese institutional investors.