Hangzhou-headquartered Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has agreed to take a 50% stake in Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club for RMB1.2 billion (US$192 million), according to media reports.
After the completion of Alibaba’s investment, the club’s current owner, Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd., will see its 100% stake reduced to 50%.
The winner of last year’s Asian Champions League is also planning to issue new shares and attract 20 strategic investors to each take a 2% stake, diluting Alibaba’s and Evergrande Real Estate’s shareholdings to 30% each.
"We’re not investing in football, we’re investing in entertainment," Alibaba’s founder and chairman Jack Ma was quoted as saying. "Alibaba’s future strategies are health and entertainment."
The latest deal follows Alibaba, Jack Ma and their affiliates having spent US$5 billion on numerous major deals so far this year.