Silicon Valley private equity firm Silver Lake Partners is reportedly buying a $500 million stake in Manchester City, at a valuation that would make the English soccer team one of the world’s most expensive sports franchises.
The Financial Times first reported the deal, which it said is expected to be officially announced Wednesday.
The FT said Silver Lake is buying a 10% stake in the English Premier League powerhouse, valuing the team at $4.8 billion. While the FT reported that would be a record valuation, this year’s Forbes list of most valuable sports teams ranks the Dallas Cowboys at No. 1, with a valuation of $5 billion. The Forbes list ranked Man City 25th, at $2.69 billion as of July.
Man City won the Premier League last season, and swept a domestic treble, but is currently stuck in third place. Its majority owner is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family. Since buying the team in 2008, he has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on world-class players, and built one of the Europe’s premier teams.
Silver Lake is one of the world’s largest tech investors, with stakes in Alibaba Group
, Dell Technologies
, Tesla Inc.
and Peloton, among others. The FT reported the company had first approached other major English and European soccer teams.
Man City is also under investigation by UEFA for allegedly breaking financial regulations, and could face a one-year ban from the lucrative Champions League. A ruling is expected in December.