Manchester City owners CFG valued at US$4.8bn in Silver Lake deal

Manchester City owners CFG valued at US$4.8bn in Silver Lake deal
City Football Group (CFG) has received an equity investment from Silicon Valley-based technology investing company Silver Lake in a deal valuing the Manchester City ownership group at US$4.8 billion.

The US$500 million transaction, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, will see the private equity firm acquire a stake of just over ten per cent in CFG.

CFG, which as well as the Premier League soccer champions also owns Major League Soccer (MLS) side New York City FC, Australian outfit Melbourne City FC and four other clubs, said it will use the investment to fund international business growth opportunities and develop its technology and infrastructure assets.

A joint statement made clear that no existing CFG shareholders would be selling equity as a result of the investment. Abu Dhabi United Group, the investment vehicle owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, remains majority shareholder with 77 per cent, while a further 12 per cent stake is still held by a consortium led by Chinese media and entertainment conglomerate CMC Inc.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of CFG, said: “Silver Lake is a global leader in technology investing, and we are delighted by both the validation that their investment in CFG represents, and the opportunities for further growth that their partnership brings.

“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.”

As part of the arrangement, Egon Durban, a managing partner and managing director at Silver Lake, will become CFG’s ninth board member.

CFG has been upping its focus on technology in recent times and was announced at the start of this year as the anchor investor in Sapphire Sport, a new US$115 million sport venture capital fund focused on technology and digital sports.

The latest announcement comes a week after Manchester City revealed record revenues of UK£535.2 million (US$693 million) for the 2018/19 season, further cementing their position as one of the world’s most valuable soccer teams while also closing in on cross-city rivals Manchester United’s tag as England’s richest club.

Silver Lake, meanwhile, was in the news at the start of November when a report in the New York Post claimed the firm was looking to acquire significant stakes in the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.

The company, which claims over US$43 billion in combined assets under management, already owns an 8.4 per cent minority stake in the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), the owner of the two major league franchises which has long been linked with spinning off its sports properties into a separate publicly traded company.

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