FC Cincinnati valued at US$500m as Meg Whitman buys stake

28 November 2019 | Clubs & Rightsholders
FC Cincinnati valued at US$500m as Meg Whitman buys stake
The owners of new Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise FC Cincinnati have sold a 20 per cent stake to Silicon Valley veteran Meg Whitman in a deal that reportedly values the team at US$500 million.

Whitman, who becomes the sixth woman on the MLS board of governors and fifth in the past two years, has acquired the minority stake alongside her husband Griff Harsh. Carl Lindner III, American Financial Group chief executive, remains FC Cincinnati’s majority owner.

Whitman made her name as Chief Executive of Ebay before going on to hold the same position at Hewlett Packard and later its Enterprise division when the company was spun off. She now heads up Quibi, a short-form video platform that has received investment from the likes of Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, Viacom, and WarnerMedia.

Whitman, who briefly joined the ownership group in which successfully secured an MLS franchise in Sacramento, said: “Cincinnati has a special place in my heart. FC Cincinnati and soccer have both already proven to be cultural forces in the market.

“Between the crowds at Nippert Stadium and the corporate commitments it has drawn, it’s a team with an exceptionally high ceiling.”

Whitman is also an investor in esports franchise Immortals, which compete on video games League of Legends and Clash Royale.

FC Cincinnati finished the 2019 season bottom of the MLS Eastern Division having made the jump from the United Soccer League (USL) to the US top tier, they successfully applied for expansion franchise status in 2018.

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