Chinese private equity firm China Media Capital (CMC) has teamed up with its portfolio company SECA, a sports marketing company in China, to invest tens of millions of Euros in Formula E Holdings, according to Chinese media organization Caixin Media, citing information from insiders.
No further financial details were disclosed. Formula E Holdings is the official promoter of FIA Formula E Championship auto racing.
CMC and SECA plans to help introduce and expand Formula E's presence in China, but there is currently no timetable. The move is similar to Dalian Wanda Group's purchase of the Ironman triathlon event series in 2015, as the Chinese conglomerate also aimed to expand the event in China while the Chinese population was becoming more health conscious.
Formula E has established partnerships with Chinese TV stations and online video sites including Chinese national television operator CCTV and online video platform iQiyi.com to broadcast races in China. In 2016, 488,000 Chinese viewers watched the race in Hong Kong via the Internet, according to Formula E.
Established in 2014, the Formula E Championship is the world’s first electric-powered single-seater racing series. Competitions take place in major cities around the world including Mexico City, Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, New York and Montreal.
CMC and its affiliates have made numerous investments in sports previously, including leading an angel round in a sports content start-up founded by Chinese football celebrity Sun Jihai in December. It also invested in sports companies SoccerWorld China, Lanxiong Sports and Beijing Wesai Era Sports Technology Co., according to Caixin.
In 2015, CMC and CITIC Capital agreed to invest US$400 million to acquire over 13% of City Football Group, the owner of football related clubs and businesses including Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, and a minority shareholder in Japanese football association Yokohama F. Marinos.
CMC has been planning to spin off its sports assets to form an independent business division, CMC’s investment chief Fang Ning said at a sports industry summit organized by Caixin last December.
CMC, founded by former chairman and president of the Shanghai Media Group Li Ruigang, is also the biggest shareholder of Caixin.