City Football Group (CFG), the holding company that oversees the running of Manchester City as well as its sister clubs in both the United States and Australia, have confirmed the sale of a 13% shareholding to a Chinese investment consortium for a fee of $400m (£265m). Such a partnership has been six months in the making, with the eventual deal valuing the group at a staggering $3bn.
Confirmation of the agreement was provided in an official statement released via City's official website and Citic Capital, which read: "City Football Group, the owner of football related clubs and businesses including Manchester City FC, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, and a minority shareholder in Yokohama F. Marinos, today announced a partnership with a consortium of high profile Chinese institutional investors led by China's leading media, entertainment, sports and Internet dedicated investment and operating company CMC (China Media Capital) Holdings.
"The deal will create an unprecedented platform for the growth of CFG clubs and companies in China and internationally, borne out of CFG's ability to provide a wealth of industry expertise and resources to the rapidly developing Chinese football industry."
Manchester City have won two Premier League titles since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Abu Dhabi United Group completed their lucrative takeover of the club from UK Sports Investments Ltd back in 2008. They trailed dominant champions Chelsea by eight points last term but Manuel Pellegrini's side have won nine of their 14 top-flight fixtures so far in 2015/16 and currently lead second-placed Leicester City on goal difference following a 3-1 win over Southampton on 28 November.
Football's appeal in China
Commenting on the latest investment, CFG chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak added: "Football is the most loved, played and watched sport in the world and in China, the exponential growth pathway for the game is both unique and hugely exciting. We have therefore worked hard to find the right partners and to create the right deal structure to leverage the incredible potential that exists in China, both for CFG and for football at large.
"Our partners have an incredible track record of creating value and could not be better placed to help us further evolve City Football Group. Our belief is that we now have an unrivalled platform to grow CFG, our clubs and companies both in China and internationally and we will be working hard with our new partners to realise the potential that this deal creates."