The City Football Group (CFG), which owns Premier League champion Manchester City, became the majority stakeholder of Indian Super League (ISL) club Mumbai City FC on Thursday.
CFG now has 65 per cent majority stakes in the club, which was founded in 2014, while co-owners Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Prekh will hold remaining 35 per cent shares.
The acquisition announcement was made by Nita Ambani, chairperson of Football Sports Development Limited in the presence of Ferran Soriano, CEO of CFG. The majority owners also formed the City Football Group India (CFGI), to be helmed by Damian Willoughby, as the CEO. Damian will be relocating from Singapore to Mumbai in the coming weeks.
The deal will see Mumbai City FC benefit from the Group’s commercial and football know-how, whilst at the same time delivering a new and exciting element to the CFG global commercial platform.
CFG's ownership of football club also comprises New York City FC in the US, Melbourne City FC in Australia, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay, Girona FC in Spain and Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China.
Nita Ambani said: “It’s a landmark occasion that celebrates the remarkable rise of Indian football and brings to life our vision for the beautiful game in India. It is a great endorsement of the increasing appeal of Indian football and for all football fans in India, this is a moment to take pride in our football, our culture and the opportunity we present to the world in developing the sport.”
“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. On behalf of all Indian football stakeholders, I welcome CFG and thank them for their interest and belief in Indian football. I am sure Mumbai City and Indian football will benefit greatly from this historic partnership,” she added.
The announcement comes in a busy period for CFG. Just prior to closing this deal to acquire Mumbai City FC, the Group confirmed a new equity investment from Silver Lake, a global leader in technology investing, valuing the Group at $4.8bn.
CFG CEO Soriano said: “We have been looking at this (investment in India) for years. We have been looking at football in India and this league (ISL) for years, have been sending people to come here and watch matches. I came myself watched many games here and we are now convinced about the bright future for football in India.”
Chairman of CFG, Khaldoon Al Mubarak said, “We believe that this investment will deliver transformative benefits to Mumbai City FC, to City Football Group and to Indian Football as a whole. City Football Group is committed to the future of football in India and to the potential for Mumbai City FC within that future.
He added: “We are very much looking forward to playing an active role in Mumbai City FC’s fan and local communities, and working with our co-owners to further develop the club as quickly as possible.”
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