Melbourne City’s owners eye China expansion

Melbourne City’s owners the City Football Group have announced a diversification of their ownership structure to include a 13% minority shareholding by a large Chinese sports media company.

“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,” said CFG in a statement on Wednesday.

The deal values CFG at US$3 billion. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval in some territories.

CMC (China Media Capital) Holdings, in parallel with CMC Capital, a private equity fund, both founded and chaired by Ruigang Li, operate in media, entertainment, sports and Internet investment and operation in China and globally.

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CMC owns exclusive major sports media rights including Chinese Super League, China Football Association “Team of China” (National Teams), and China University Football League.

CMC is also involved in sports production and media operation, league and event management, marketing and data service through its portfolio companies.

The deal will see new shares issued in City Football Group in addition to the ones held by the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), the investment and development company privately owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and prior to this transaction the sole shareholder of City Football Group.

Speaking about the partnership, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of City Football Group said: “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.”

Aaron Mooy was the star in City's win over Perth Glory on Friday night.

CFG’s clubs include Manchester City FC, Melbourne City and MLS Franchise New York City Football Club. CFG is also a minority shareholder in Yokohama F. Marinos of the J-League.

What this means for Melbourne City is potential tours to China for both the A-League and W-League sides and greater links with the Chinese Super League.