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Chinese billionaire to buy 20% stake in Atlético Madrid soccer club

Wang Jianlin is due to inject €45 million on Wednesday through his Dalian Wanda Group

Ladislao J. Moñino
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, in his Beijing office.
Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, in his Beijing office.Suzie Wong (Reuters)

The president and the main shareholder of Atlético de Madrid traveled to Beijing to authorize a capital increase that will give Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin control of around 20% of the soccer club.

Enrique Cerezo and Miguel Ángel Gil Marín will make the operation official on Wednesday, when the Asian billionaire is to inject €45 million into the club through his company, the Dalian Wanda Group.

Atlético’s top stockholder, Gil Marín, will reduce his proportional share to 52%, while Cerezo will keep control of 20%. The rest of the stock is in the hands of the Gil family and minority shareholders.

Jianlin, who is worth an estimated €25 billion, announced the capital injection for this coming Wednesday after months of negotiations.

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The Dalian Wanda Group had already been working with several Spanish soccer clubs, including Valencia and Villarreal, through training schools. Until now, Chinese players have been spending prolonged periods learning the game in Atlético’s lower categories.

From now on, Atlético will open new soccer schools in China so Madrid-trained players can continue learning using the same methods. The deal includes agreements with sponsors and a possible club tour of China this coming summer.

In March 2014, Jianlin’s company acquired Madrid’s landmark Edificio España building for €260 million.

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