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Manchester City group becomes most valuable in world at $5bn

Manchester City’s owner is selling a $ 500m stake to a US investment firm in a deal that that makes it the most valuable sports group in the world – worth nearly $ 5bn.

Silver Lake is buying just over 10% of the Abu Dhabi-controlled City Football Group, setting a record $ 4.8bn valuation for the Premier League club’s owner.

CFG owns stakes in seven football clubs around the world.

The club undertook a review of historic child sex abuse by former youth coaches
Image: The club is owned by the Abu Dhabi-controlled City Football Group

The group said none of its existing shareholders were selling equity stakes as part of the Silver Lake deal.

Manchester City are currently in third place in the Premier League, and have qualified for the Champions League final 16.

English teams have attracted major money from some of the world’s richest investors during the last decade, as the game attracts an increasing number of fans in profitable markets such as Asia, the US and the Middle East.

The clubs’ property portfolios are also often seen as lucrative assets.

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Manchester City rivals Manchester United are owned by the American Glazer family, while Chelsea is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Manchester City was bought in 2008 by billionaire businessman Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

In an exclusive TV interview with Sky Sports, CFG chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “We are very excited.

“It’s been a wonderful journey over the last 10 or 11 years and I think this transaction is a testament to the journey that we’ve undertaken.”

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Image: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Abu Dhabi United Group remains the biggest stakeholder in City Football Group

He added: “Silver Lake, I think, is a world-class investor, one of the global leaders in technology media, sports and entertainment investing. We’re delighted to have them as part of the team here.

“It’s a US firm and we have quickly, through the conversations we have had over the last couple of months, come to the conclusion that we’re a good fit for each other.

“I think they add a lot of value to the group, particularly as I look at the future and what we intend to do in the next 10 years. I think it is a very nice marriage.”

On future plans, he said: “Well, we’ve been focusing over the last 10 years with a clear business plan, a clear investment strategy, a clear global strategy. We are leaders today in the football business globally.

“All these businesses are sustainable, are profitable. Manchester City is now five years in profitability. This sustainable model we’ve been working on has proven to be a success and Silver Lake sees that.

“We’re not taking any money out. This investment money stays in the group and stays as part of our growth strategy for the future and we will continue down the route that we’ve started.

“I think this transaction is a testament to the appetite that this group has about the future. When we bring in another half a billion dollars of investment into the group and when we commit to keep that investment and not take out any of that, I think that in itself tells you how we see investing and how we see the future.”

Silver Lake managing director Egon Durban, who will join the CFG board, said: “We are excited to invest in CFG, which is redefining soccer globally and in doing so has successfully built an impressive global platform of marquee soccer clubs across five continents.”

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