Report: LAFC valued at US$700m in minority stake sale

2 March 2020 | Clubs & Rightsholders
Report: LAFC valued at US$700m in minority stake sale
Owners of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Los Angeles FC have bought out half of a 20 per cent stake held by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan in a deal which values the franchise at more than US$700 million, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The apparent agreement makes LAFC the highest valued club in the North American soccer league, eclipsing the US$500 million valuation placed on FC Cincinnati by former Ebay chief executive Meg Whitman's acquisition of a minority stake last year. In Forbes’ 2019 most valuable MLS franchise rankings, LAFC were valued at US$475 million, with Atlanta United topping the list at US$500 million.

According to Bloomberg, LAFC’s ownership group also plan to buy the other half of Tan’s stake.

The move comes amid reports that Tan, the founder of Malaysian consumer marketing group Berjaya, is scaling back his soccer portfolio, including the sale of English Football League (EFL) club Cardiff City, who currently play in the second tier Championship.

LAFC has a large ownership group but is controlled by a trio of owners – Apollo Global Management senior partner Larry Berg, Ares Management co-founder Bennett Rosenthal, and Brandon Beck, co-founder of Riot Games.

Minority owners include Peter Guber, co-owner of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors, actor Will Ferrell, former NBA star Magic Johnson, and retired US soccer star Mia Hamm and her husband, the former Major League Baseball (MLB) player Nomar Garciaparra.

The report came ahead of the opening weekend of the 2020 MLS season, which saw LAFC beat expansion franchise Inter Miami 1-0 at the Banc of California Stadium.

Another MLS expansion franchise, Nashville SC, also suffered an opening day defeat but will be encouraged by their attendance as 59,069 fans came to Nissan Stadium to see Atlanta United win 2-1. That mark eclipsed the venue’s soccer record, when 56,232 visitors came through the gate for the International Champions Cup match played between English clubs Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in July 2017.

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