City Football Group Signals China Growth as CMC Holdings Led Consortium Acquires 13% CFG Minority Shareholding

MANCHESTER, England, BEIJING and ABU DHABI, UAE, December 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

- Strategic minority shareholding creates unprecedented platform to deliver CFG
growth opportunities in China and internationally 
- Deal values City Football Group at US$3Billion  

City Football Group (CFG), 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.

The agreement will see the consortium of CMC Holdings and CITIC Capital invest US$400 million to take a shareholding in City Football Group of just over 13%. The deal values the group at US$3 billion. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval in some territories.

The announcement follows more than six months of discussions among the parties to find the optimum model and associated strategies for the partnership. The capital from the share acquisition will be used by City Football Group to fund its China growth, further CFG international business expansion opportunities and further develop CFG infrastructure assets.  

The CFG/CMC partnership is predicated on the opportunity to create new value for CFG in China and beyond by working with CMC, CITIC Capital and the Chinese football industry. To that end, CMC and CITIC Capital representatives and CFG executives have already been working together, along with third parties, to identify and implement China-based initiatives for the CFG portfolio of clubs and 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.

CMC will represent the consortium at Board level with Mr. Ruigang Li, the Chairman of CMC becoming a member of the City Football Group Holding Company Board - which as a result of the agreement, will increase from six to seven members.

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.  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."

He continued: "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."

On behalf of the investing consortium, CMC Chairman Ruigang Li said: "Football is now at a fascinating and critical stage of development in China.  We see unprecedented growth opportunities in both its development as an industry, being China's most watched sport, and its inspirational role bringing people of all ages together with a shared passion.  CMC has long been dedicated to creating opportunities that facilitate positive developments in Chinese football from different aspects within the ecosystem. With its unique business model and distinct successes, City Football Group, whom we have come to know well, represents a differentiated systematic approach to building a global platform for football know-how, player development, academy programmes and commercial partnerships that will benefit China's football industry on multiple levels. We and our consortium partner CITIC Capital also see this investment as a prime opportunity for furthering the contribution of China to the global football family."

Editors Notes: 

About the CMC consortium: 

About CMC (China Media Capital) Holdings 

CMC (China Media Capital) Holdings, in parallel with CMC Capital, a leading private equity fund, both founded and chaired by Ruigang Li, is one of the most prestigious companies in media, entertainment, sports and Internet investment and operation in China and globally. CMC owns a slate of 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. CMC has also created and grown a number of champions and emerging leaders in other sectors of media and entertainment, Internet and mobile, and life style; covering film, television, sports, animation, music, fashion, live entertainment, location-based entertainment, smart TV, virtual reality entertainment, financial media, financial data service, online-video, advertising, social network, online-game, online-education, e-commerce, and O2O.

About CITIC Capital Holdings Limited  

Founded in 2002, CITIC Capital Holdings Limited ("CITIC Capital") is an alternative investment management and advisory company. The firm manages USD5 billion of capital from a diverse group of international and Chinese institutional investors. Core businesses include Private Equity [ ], Real Estate [ ], Structured Investment and Finance [ ], Asset Management [ ] and Venture [ ]. CITIC Capital currently employs over 200 staff members throughout its offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and New York.

The firm combines a deep knowledge of the Chinese business and financial markets with world-class investment expertise to create and maximize value for its investors.

For more information, please visit

About City Football Group  City Football Group is the owner of a number of football related businesses with global relevance. These include high profile professional football clubs, academies, technical support and marketing companies. CFG's clubs include Premier League Title Winners 2011-2012 and 2013-14 Manchester City FC, Melbourne City FC of the A-League and MLS Franchise New York City Football Club. CFG is also a minority shareholder in Yokohama F. Marinos of the J-League. The common aim across all clubs is to provide the best possible experience and an unmatched opportunity for fans and communities to participate in, and benefit from, football at both a local and global level.

The Group's support companies- City Football Services and City Football Marketing- operate from a number of offices around the world in support of the Group's clubs, associate organisations and customer organisations. City Football Services shares footballing IP and "know-how" to recruit, develop, train and win. City Football Marketing creates media, marketing and fan engagement properties to support the commercial development of clubs and their partners.

City Football Group is wholly owned by Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG). ADUG is an investment and development company privately owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

City Football Group's headquarters are in Manchester and it has offices in Abu Dhabi, London, New York, Melbourne, Singapore and Tokyo.

For more information, please visit

About Manchester City Football Club 

Manchester City FC is an English Premier League club whose roots began in East Manchester in 1880 as St Mark's West Gorton. It officially became Manchester City FC in 1894 and has since then gone onto win the European Cup Winners' Cup, four League Championship titles, including two Premier League titles in the last three years (2012, 2014), and five FA Cups.

Under manager Manuel Pellegrini, the Club plays its domestic and Champions' League home fixtures at the Etihad Stadium, a spectacular 55,000 seat arena that City have called home since 2003. Today, the Stadium sits on the wider Etihad Campus, which also encompasses the City Football Academy, a world leading first team training and youth development facility located in the heart of East Manchester. Featuring a 7,000 capacity Academy Stadium, the City Football Academy is also where Manchester City Women's Football Club and the Elite Development Squad train on a daily basis and play their competitive home games.

For more information, please visit

About Manchester City Women's Football Club 

Formerly known as Manchester City Ladies FC, the club was founded in 1988 by City in the Community. In the 25 years since then, their affiliation with the men's team has taken various forms, culminating in the statement of a formal partnership with Manchester City in August 2012. The Club was granted entry to the FA Women's Super League in April 2013 and subsequently re-launched as Manchester City Women's Football Club in January 2014.

The Club mirrors and benefits from its association with its male equivalent and is structured in all aspects of its operations to take advantage of the resources of the wider organisation - from community programmes, to youth development, scouting, coaching, sports science, digital coverage and first team football operations.

In their inaugural season under Head Coach Nick Cushing, Manchester City Women's Football Club made history when they clinched their first ever trophy, the FA WSL Continental Cup. In the 2015 campaign, the Club finished second place in the FA WSL and with it secured UEFA Women's Champions League football for the 2016 season.  

The team, which includes five England internationals who recently competed in the 2015 Women's World Cup, play their home games in the 7,000 capacity Academy Stadium at City Football Academy, the facility which they share alongside the men's and academy teams.

About Melbourne City Football Club 

Melbourne City Football Club is a professional football club that competes in the major Australian domestic competition, the Hyundai A-League, in the top tier of women's football, the Westfield W-League and the Foxtel National Youth League. The Club, formerly known as Melbourne Heart FC was established in 2009, inspired by a vision for a broad based community team, celebrating cultural diversity and sporting passion through football.

Becoming known as Melbourne City FC in 2014, the Club is wholly owned by the City Football Group and plays its home games at the 30,000 capacity AAMI Park stadium in Melbourne. Managed by former Dutch international John van't Schip, the Club's training and administrative base is at City Football Academy, Melbourne on the campus of La Trobe University.  The CFA Melbourne features advanced new training pitches for the Melbourne City first team, two elite youth team pitches, dedicated community pitches, world class medical and sports science facilities and expansive office space.  It is also CFG's centre for football operations in the Asia Pacific region and the training and administration base for the affiliated Women's team, Melbourne City Women's FC which was founded in 2015 and competes in the W-League, the top division of women's football in Australia.

For further information, please visit

About New York City Football Club 

New York City Football Club is an American professional soccer team based in New York City that competes in Major League Soccer in the Eastern Conference of the league. It was announced as the league's twentieth franchise on May 21, 2013 and is the first and only Major League Soccer Club located within the five boroughs of New York City. Majority owned by City Football Group, New York City FC plays its home games at Yankee Stadium, which is also home to minority owner, the New York Yankees. 

New York City FC kicked off their inaugural MLS season in March 2015 and has former US National Team captain Claudio Reyna as its Sporting Director and, from 1st January 2016, former World Cup winner Patrick Vieira as its coach.

For further information, please visit

More information about City Football Group can be found at:

City Football Group

CONTACT: CFG Media Contacts: CFG Americas and EMEA - Toby Craig, Head ofMarketing Communications,, +44-7710-380-248,CFG Asia Pacific - Damaris Treasure, Head of Strategic Communications,, +61-406-506-069

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