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Volume 6 No. 263

Finance

Man City has "more financial firepower than any other club in world football," a new ranking revealed, according to the BBC. Soccerex, which compiled the list, said that the club has the "biggest economic growth potential." U.K. clubs "dominate the top ten spots," with Arsenal ranked second, Tottenham fifth, ManU seventh and Chelsea ninth. The list is based on five factors, including potential owner investment. Man City is owned by multi-billionaire Sheikh Mansour. The club spent £215M on player transfers over the summer, which was the "biggest by any English club in any transfer window." The Soccerex Football Finance 100 also takes into account "the value of clubs' players, their fixed assets such as stadiums and training grounds, the amount of money they have in the bank as well as net debt." This methodology explained why Arsenal was ranked above third-placed Paris St.-Germain, which paid a record €222M to sign Neymar last summer. It said that Arsenal's "sound business model" enabled it to "pip" PSG, despite a "perceived lack of spending" in the transfer market (BBC, 1/3). CNN's Aimee Lewis reported Man City's rivals are "starting to realize the implications of the financial might of the club." In December, ManU Manager José Mourinho, who has spent more than $400M on players since his arrival at the start of the '16-17 season, complained about how Man City "bought defenders for the usual value of strikers at the start of this season." Mourinho said of ManU's recent spending, "It is not enough. And the price for the big clubs, the price for the big clubs is different from the other clubs. So the big, historical clubs are normally punished in the market for that history." Reflecting China's "growing influence in the sport," Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande was fourth -- two places ahead of Real Madrid and nine places above Barcelona, which is 13th. Nine CSL clubs, which have "spent heavily in the last couple of years" to attract players, were in the top 100 -- equal to Spain and more than France, Germany and Italy. The U.S. is the second-most represented country in the top 30, with five teams, due to its "solid business models, high-value assets and strong investment." Juventus, ranked eighth, and 10th-ranked Bayern Munich complete the list's top 10 (CNN, 1/4).

China's Dalian Wanda Group is considering a Hong Kong listing for its sports assets as "part of efforts to rationalize its portfolio that could also include other sales," sources said, according to Wu, Jim & Baker of REUTERS. The conglomerate last month "tapped investment banks for a potential initial public offering of its sports businesses," the sources added. Citic Securities, China's largest brokerage, is reportedly one of the banks involved. A spokesperson for Citic Securities declined to comment. An IPO of Wanda's sports assets would include Infront Sports & Media, a Swiss sports marketing company and World Triathlon Corp. The share offering would also include Wanda's "smaller sports assets in China, such as cycling and basketball leagues." The public float would not involve Wanda's 20% stake in Atlético Madrid, valued at €67M after a recent capital raise. The IPO would "most likely take place in Hong Kong," but bankers have also pitched for a U.S. listing, according to the sources. Wanda is separately looking to sell Sunseeker Int'l, a British yacht maker it bought in '13 for $495M, "but whose financial performance it has failed to turn around." Wanda declined to comment (REUTERS, 1/4).

An "apologetic" Al Shaqab thanked trainers for their "considerable patience and understanding" as Sheikh Joaan's racing operation vowed that "those who for months have been chasing unpaid bills will finally have accounts settled," according to Lee Mottershead of RACING POST. Several of Britain's leading trainers were "forced to run their businesses without the many thousands of pounds owed to them by Al Shaqab." Al Shaqab GM Khalifa Al Attiya claimed the problems are "linked" to a financial review and reorganization. However, a number of those on the organization's payroll believe budgets were last year "exhausted prematurely due to expensive transactions." Attempting to estimate the scale of the Al Shaqab debts "is difficult," but with numerous yards thought to be missing at least tens of thousands of pounds, the "scale of the overall shortfall is likely to run well into seven figures" (RACING POST, 1/3).