City Football Group Confirms Purchase Of China's Sichuan Jiuniu
Man City's parent company confirmed the joint-purchase of a seventh club, Sichuan Jiuniu, which plays in China’s third tier, according to Jamie Jackson of the London GUARDIAN. City Football Group bought the Chengdu side with China Sports Capital and Ubtech. It is the "next step" in CFG’s involvement in China, having previously opened offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen. CFG CEO Ferran Soriano said, "Today marks an exciting new chapter in the growth of City Football Group. China is an extremely important football market, which we have been focused on for some time." Ubtech, an AI and robotic humanoid company, has been a CFG partner since '16. CSC is a fund established by CFG and Sequoia China two years ago (GUARDIAN, 2/20). In London, Murad Ahmed reported according to people close to CFG’s leadership, execs have "considered acquiring teams in the Chinese Super League," the country’s top division, where clubs have been "snapping up" some of European football’s top players to gain int'l attention. City execs were "put off by sky-high valuations at elite Chinese clubs," few of which are being run profitably. Instead, CFG hopes to build the Sichuan Jiuniu team with the aim of being promoted into China’s top division, while also using the club to "find and train young players capable of taking part in Europe’s biggest leagues." One person familiar with the terms of the deal said that the companies paid a fee amounting to "single digit millions" of pounds combined, with each "taking roughly equal shares" in the Chinese club (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/20).