Abu Dhabi-based Man City owner draws $500m investment from private equity firm Silver Lake

Manchester City this month reported record high 2018-19 revenue of £535.2 million ($687 million) in a fifth consecutive year of profitability. (Reuters)
Updated 27 November 2019

Abu Dhabi-based Man City owner draws $500m investment from private equity firm Silver Lake

  • Europe’s top football clubs have drawn in big money from some of the world’s richest investors over the last decade
  • Man City this month reported record high 2018-2019 revenue of £535.2 million in a fifth consecutive year of profitability

PARIS: US private equity firm Silver Lake has agreed to invest $500 million in the owners of English football champions Manchester City, valuing the Premier League club’s owner at $4.8 billion.
Silver Lake will buy just over 10 percent of Abu Dhabi-controlled City Football Group (CFG), which owns Manchester City, the companies said on Wednesday, confirming a report in the Financial Times newspaper.
Europe’s top football clubs have drawn in big money from some of the world’s richest investors over the last decade, as the game attracts more and more fans in lucrative markets such as Asia, the United States and the Middle East.
The clubs’ property portfolios are also often seen as lucrative assets.
Man City’s big domestic rival Manchester United are owned by the American Glazer family, while Chelsea is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. French champions Paris Saint Germain are owned by Qatar Sports Investments.
“Silver Lake is a global leader in technology investing, and we are delighted by both the validation that their investment in CFG represents, and the opportunities for further growth that their partnership brings,” City Football Group Chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak said in a statement.
City Football Group said none of its existing shareholders were selling equity stakes as part of the Silver Lake deal.
It added that Abu Dhabi United Group, the investment vehicle owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, would remain the majority CFG shareholder with a stake of around 77 percent.
Man City this month reported record high 2018-19 revenue of £535.2 million ($687 million) in a fifth consecutive year of profitability.
Silver Lake Managing Director Egon Durban will join the board of City Football Group.
“We are excited to invest in CFG, which is redefining football globally and in doing so has successfully built an impressive global platform of marquee football clubs across five continents,” Durban said in a statement.
Manchester City spent much of the 1990s in the doldrums, often out of England’s top-flight league and far behind Manchester United, which remains England’s record league title holders with 20 championship titles.
However, the influx of Middle Eastern cash has since led to a revival in Man City’s fortunes.
The team, managed by former Barcelona man Pep Guardiola, won an unprecedented domestic treble last season — the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the League Cup.
Unlike Manchester United and Liverpool, however, Man City is yet to win Europe’s most prestigious title, the Champions League.


The Egyptian showjumper making the Arab world proud

Updated 07 August 2020

The Egyptian showjumper making the Arab world proud

  • Mohamed Zeyada has secured his place in sporting history by winning a spot at the Olympic Games
  • A big challenge for Zeyada has been Egypt’s longstanding ban on the import and export of horses

CAIRO: Whatever happens from here on, Mohamed Zeyada (also known as Mouda) will always be remembered as the Egyptian equestrian whose team achieved something that has eluded the country for more than 60 years: Securing a spot at the Olympic Games.

Now 25, Zeyada has been riding since the age of 5. “It all started when my parents and I were in Smouha Club in Alexandria, and the big sand arena full of horses caught my eye,” he said.

“As a child, I asked my mother if I could ride a horse, but of course she refused. That day, I wouldn’t leave the club until I got on top of one of those horses. I haven’t stopped riding since.”

Zeyada’s mother was terrified at first, but as his biggest supporter and manager, she plunged into the world of horseback riding.

“Despite her fears, my mother learned the ins and outs of the sport,” he said. “Now she’s an FEI level 3 jury, so she actually gets me asking her for rules.”

Egyptian rider Zeyada has been riding since the age of 5. (Supplied)

The passionate showjumper was only 6 when he took part in his first competition, which was hosted at Abdel Said’s private farm in Alexandria.

Together with Said, another member of the national showjumpers team, Zeyada would train on the difficult fences first.

With the constant support of his mother and Hesham Hatab, president of the Egyptian Equestrian Federation and of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, Zeyada was ready to move on to bigger things by the age of 13.

“Growing up, I used to idolize Karim El-Zoghby. Back then, Karim was in the Netherlands, and in order for me to get the training I needed to become a world-class rider, I too had to move there. Balancing between my studies and riding in the Netherlands required dedication, discipline and persistence,” Zeyada said.

“A few years later, joining pharmacy school didn’t make that task any easier. I remember skimming through 14 lectures a day just to catch up on my studies. My mom was my only motivation. Without her constant support, I wouldn’t have been able to tackle all these challenges.”

The passionate showjumper was only 6 when he took part in his first competition. (Supplied)

These were not the only challenges facing Zeyada. Egypt was long banned from importing and exporting horses, which prevented the ambitious young athlete from riding in World Cup qualifiers or sending his horses abroad.

“I felt imprisoned, stuck with no way out. Back then, I decided to put my training on hold just so I can focus on my studies. I felt that the time, money and effort spent on this sport weren’t taking me where I wanted to be,” he said.

“I didn’t quit, but I only participated in shows, and I can safely say this was surely one mistake I learned from.”

All the hard work finally paid off for Zeyada and the national team when the all-star quartet scored Egypt its first-ever Nations Cup win in Morocco. Shortly after, the team went on to the Olympics qualifier games.

“We haven’t had that much support. We were all training, riding and competing independently,” Zeyada said.

“It’s just recently that we started receiving some financial support to help ease the burden. We were able to prove that we can deliver results with very limited resources.”

While the dedicated rider looks calm and collected on the outside, he admits that the Tokyo Olympics will not be an easy task. (Supplied)

While the dedicated rider looks calm and collected on the outside, he admits that the Tokyo Olympics will not be an easy task. (It has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is now set to take place in July-August 2021.)

“Qualifying for the World Cup games is a win on its own. It’s something we haven’t done in 60 years, but it’s only the beginning,” Zeyada said.

“We’re going through extensive preparations. I just qualified my second horse, just to make sure I have a plan B in case anything goes wrong. My show plan is already set and communicated with all my team members, from my grooms to my vet and my blacksmith,” he added.

“Currently, I’m pampering my horses with the best training, health, grooming and happiness routines. Ultimately, the goal here is to get my horse, my partner, in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally.

“Winning isn’t possible without a partnership, a relationship with your horse. To be up there on top, everyone has to give 100 percent.”

* This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.