Chinese investors have made their first foray into English football, snapping up a 13 per cent stake in the parent of Premier League leaders Manchester City just weeks after President Xi Jinping visited the club's academy.
Football, both at home and abroad, has become a target for Chinese conglomerates and their wealthy founders, which some analysts see as an effort to curry favour with Beijing.
A consortium led by private equity groups China Media Capital and CITIC Capital will pay $400m for the stake in City Football Group, which also owns Melbourne City and New York City football clubs, and is a minority shareholder in Japan's Yokohama F. Marinos.
The agreement values CFG at $3bn, the company said on Tuesday, roughly the same as the market capitalisation of New York-listed local rivals Manchester United. Deloitte rates Man City as the sixth-richest club in the world by revenue.
"Football is now at a fascinating and critical stage of development in China," said Li Ruigang, CMC chairman.