U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake has agreed to buy a stake in City Football Group (CFG), owner of the U.K. football team Manchester City, for $500 million. The deal values CFG at $4.8 billion, the companies said.
Silver Lake is buying just over 10% of CFG, which is controlled by United Arab Emirates royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“Within world football, this is almost certainly the largest ever sports enterprise valuation,” said Bryn Anderson, director of sports services at Brand Finance.
Proceeds from the investment will be used to fund international business growth opportunities and develop technology and infrastructure assets, CFG said in a statement. The Financial Times, which first reported the deal, said the group is planning to build a new stadium in New York.
CFG, said none of its existing shareholders are selling equity as a result of the primary capital investment, and Sheik Nahyan would remain the majority shareholder. The Chinese media conglomerate CMC, which bought a $400 million stake in CFG four years ago, will also remain a major shareholder.
Silver Lake Managing Director Egon Durban will join the CFG board, which is increasing from eight to nine members.
“We are excited to partner with the Board and CFG’s world-class management team to help drive the next phase of CFG’s growth in the fast-growing premium sports and entertainment content market,” Durban said.
CFG also owns New York City Football Club, Melbourne City Football Club, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay, Girona FC in Spain, and Sichuan Jiuniu Football Club in China.
Silver Lake is one of the largest technology investors in the world and holds stakes in Alibaba Group, Dell, and Tesla, but the company has bought stakes in The Madison Square Garden Company and mixed-martial arts league UFC. It also owns stakes in entertainment and sport talent agencies group Endeavor and the sports agency IMG.
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