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Silver Lake increases stake in Man City owner CFG to over 18%

US private equity firm buys half of 7.2% stake sold by China Media Capital.

28 November 2022 Josh Sim

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  • Other half of CMC’s shares picked up by City owner Sheikh Mansour
  • CFG currently has 12 soccer clubs in its portfolio
  • Silver Lake last increased CFG stake in September

Silver Lake has upped its stake in City Football Group (CFG) to more than 18 per cent, strengthening its position as the second largest shareholder in Manchester City’s ownership group.

CFG confirmed that the US private equity firm has purchased the additional shares from venture capital firm China Media Capital (CMC), which previously held an 8.2 per cent stake.

CMC has sold 7.24 per cent of its interest in CFG, with half going to Silver Lake and the other half being taken by Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has increased his stake as the majority shareholder in CFG through the Abu Dhabi-based Newton Investment and Development firm.

In a statement published by the Financial Times (FT), CFG described the deal as a ‘further endorsement’ of the group’s business model and its ‘continued international growth’.

CFG’s portfolio currently consists of 12 soccer clubs, with the latest to be added being Brazilian second-tier side Esporte Clube Bahia. The group additionally recently completed a reported UK£11.2 million (US$13.6 million) takeover of Italian second-tier club Palermo.

In 2019, Silver Lake acquired a stake of just over ten per cent in CFG in a deal that valued the group at US$4.8 billion. It then increased its stake further to 14.5 per cent, reportedly buying shares from CMC in September.

As well as CFG, Silver Lake also bought Endeavor’s professional development league (PDL) business Diamond Baseball Holdings in August for around US$280 million. The firm also has made a NZ$200 million (US$130.45 million) minority stake investment in New Zealand Rugby’s commercial arm.

The latest transaction means CMC, which now owns just one per cent of CFG, has relinquished its seat on the group’s board, with media mogul Li Ruigang stepping down. According to the FT, CMC has owned as much as 13 per cent of the group previously.

City said CMC would continue to provide ‘important knowledge and expertise’ to the board, adding in a statement: ‘CMC remains a valued CFG partner, particularly in China.’

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