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Man City, NYC FC, Melbourne City owners sell $400m stake to Chinese

A consortium of Chinese investors is paying $400 million (£265m, AUS $549m) to take a 13 percent stake in the parent company of Premier League side Manchester City, MLS franchise New York City FC and A-League club Melbourne City.

City Football Group is valued at $3 billion in the deal struck with China Media Group (CMG) Holdings, described as China's premier media, entertainment, sports and internet dedicated investment company.

CMG hope to increase City's popularity in China, where the former Premier League champions are the second most-followed club on social media site Weibo, with more than eight million followers.

City have been in talks with CMG for more than six months and say the proceeds of the deal, which is yet to be ratified in some countries, will be used to "fund its China growth, further CFG international business expansion opportunities and further develop CFG infrastructure assets."

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of CFG, said in a statement: "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."

The deal sees new shares issued in CFG in addition to those owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), the investment and development company privately owned by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

Prior to the investment ADUG was the sole shareholder of CFG which owns Manchester City, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and is a minority shareholder in J-League side Yokohama F. Marinos.

CMC chairman Ruigang Li will represent the consortium at CFG by becoming its seventh board member.

Li said: "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."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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