Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group, which owns sports clubs on four continents, including this year’s Premier League champion Manchester City and MLS’ New York City Football Club, has raised $650 million to expand its operations.
The seven-year loan is underwritten by Barclays, while HSBC and KKR Capital Markets are joint bookrunners to the deal. Multiple reports suggest the funding will be used for infrastructure projects, including a new stadium for NYCFC. However, the project still awaits approval from local authorities. City Football Group declined to comment.
Until 2015 CFG was wholly owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, a private investment company whose majority owner is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family who bought Manchester City in 2008. Two years ago, CFG sold a 10% stake to Silver Lake Partners, a U.S. private equity company, in a deal that valued the overall company at $4.8 billion. CFG’s corporate and facility ratings were rated B2 at Moody’s and BB- at Fitch.
CFG’s annual revenue dropped 14% due to pandemic-related ticket and broadcast revenue losses, bringing its total net loss to $282 million since the beginning of the year. CFG’s top club Manchester City was one of the 6 UK clubs that joined the European Super League a few months ago. ManCity is facing pressure to compete with its biggest rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, and planning to expand their spending to stay on top.
CFG has been expanding its club portfolio aggressively in recent years. Last year it bought a 65% stake in Mumbai City FC and recently acquired the French team ESTAC Troyes (Ligue 2). The company is also interested in identifying and developing young talent. According to a recent Washington Post story, CFG is interested in DC United midfielder Kevin Paredes, one of the most exciting young players in the MLS, however, it is not specified which club was interested in the 18-year-old midfielder.