Meg Whitman Buys 20% Stake In FC Cincinnati, Valuing Team At $500M
Former eBay and HP CEO Meg Whitman is "buying a minority stake" in FC Cincinnati, part of a "push by the first-year team to raise money for facilities and player contracts," according to Soshnick & Novy-Williams of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Sources said that Whitman and her husband, Griff Harsh, are "taking about 20% of the club" at a valuation of around $500M. Whitman, whose purchase was approved Wednesday, will become the sixth woman on the MLS BOG, one of five to "join within the past two years." Whitman will join Majority Owner & CEO Carl Lindner as the club's second MLS board rep. Whitman, who began her career at Cincinnati-based P&G, said, "Cincinnati has a special place in my heart. FC Cincinnati and soccer have both already proven to be cultural forces in the market. Between the crowds at Nippert Stadium and the corporate commitments it has drawn, it's a team with an exceptionally high ceiling." The team "has been working with the Raine Group to help bring on capital," while O'Melveny & Myers represented Whitman and Harsh (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/27). The cash infusion is "expected to help pay for various infrastructure projects including the new West End Stadium set to open" in '21 (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 11/28). PRO SOCCER USA's D.J. Switzer noted Whitman and Harsh previously were members of the ownership group "aiming to bring an expansion franchise" to Sacramento (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 11/27).