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Manchester City owner sells 10 per cent stake to US private equity group for $500 million

By Amanda Cooper

City Football Group attracts investment of $500m from private equity group Silver Lake

The owner of Manchester City Football Group (CFG) has attracted investment of $500m (£388m, €454m) from US private equity group Silver Lake, in a deal that values the group at $4.8bn.

This gives tech-focused Silver Lake a 10 per cent holding in the group, making it the second-largest stakeholder after Chinese media and entertainment conglomerate CMC Inc, CFG said.

The deal will make Man City’s parent group one of the most valuable sports conglomerates in the world, well beyond previous estimates of the company’s worth.

Forbes earlier this year estimated Manchester City to be worth $2.69 billion (£2.16bn), already ranking it the fifth most valuable football club in the world and 25th most valuable sports groups.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of CFG, which also owns stakes in football clubs in the United States and Australia, said the investment would be used to develop the company’s technology and infrastructure assets, and to grow its international businesses.

“We and Silver Lake share the strong belief in the opportunities being presented by the convergence of entertainment, sports and technology and the resulting ability for CFG to generate long-term growth and new revenue streams globally,” he said.

Man City, with its distinctive pale blue and white team colours, is one of the most successful clubs in the history of the English Premier League, and was taken over in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group for around $270 million.

Abu Dhabi United Group, headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, would remain the majority shareholder in CFG, with a 77 per cent holding.

Silver Lake, which has made investments in the likes of China’s Alibaba, US index provider Nasdaq, tech and telecoms groups such as Broadcom, Dell and Motorola, has over $43 billion in assets under management.

“We greatly respect CFG’s stewardship of more than a century of soccer tradition and the strong global fanbases of its clubs. 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,” said Egon Durban, a managing partner and managing director of Silver Lake.

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