Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company, agreed on Thursday to take a 50 percent stake in Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club, winners of last year's Asian Champions League, for 1.2 billion yuan ($192 million).
Evergrande Real Estate will see its full ownership of Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club (F.C.) reduced to a 50 percent stake once the deal is completed, said Evergrande Chairman Xu Jiayin at a joint-press conference held with Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma on Thursday.
Even as Alibaba prepares for a blockbuster IPO that could value the firm at $152 billion, the firm and its affiliates are rapidly expanding beyond its traditional e-commerce businesses, investing in finance, entertainment and setting up a film company in Hong Kong.
"We're not investing in football, we're investing in entertainment," said Alibaba's Ma. "Alibaba's future strategies are health and entertainment."
In January, Alibaba and private equity affiliate Yunfeng Capital paid $170 million for a controlling stake in pharmaceutical data firm CITIC 21CN.