By David Owen
November 28 – City Football Group (CFG) has made its long-awaited move into India, today unveiling a deal to buy 65% of Indian Super League (ISL) club Mumbai City.
The structure of the transaction permits actor and film producer Ranbir Kapoor to retain a minority stake. He and another existing shareholder, Bimal Parekh, will hold the remaining 35% of the club.
The move comes just a day after Abu Dhabi-controlled CFG announced a $500 million equity investment in its business by Silver Lake, a US private equity firm. While the terms of the Mumbai deal were not disclosed, the purchase price is not thought likely to make too big a hole in that capital injection.
Mumbai, which plays home games at the 8,000 capacity Mumbai Football Arena within the Andheri Sports Complex, becomes the eighth club in the CFG portfolio. The group’s financial performance is likely to remain heavily influenced, for the foreseeable future, by much the best known of this octet, Manchester City, however. The Blues last season achieved a clean sweep of major English domestic trophies.
CFG chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said he believed the Indian deal would deliver “transformative benefits to Mumbai City FC, to City Football Group and to Indian football as a whole”.
Nita Ambani, the International Olympic Committee member who chairs Football Sports Development Limited and Reliance Foundation, described the move as “a great endorsement of the increasing appeal of Indian football”. She added: “The power and potential of our youth makes India the most exciting global opportunity in the world today, in every field, and especially in sport.”
Mumbai currently sits seventh in the 10-team ISL table, with just one win from five matches.
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