China’s Dalian Wanda sells stake in Atlético de Madrid soccer club

Despite the move, the Chinese conglomerate will still lend its name to the team’s new stadium, which was inaugurated this season

The Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
The Wanda Metropolitano stadium. Jaime Villanueva

China’s Dalian Wanda Group has sold its 17% stake in Atlético de Madrid, the Spanish soccer club announced on Wednesday.

The Chinese conglomerate sold the shares to another stakeholder, Quantum Pacific Group, whose participation in Atlético will now rise from 15% to 32%.

Wanda maintains its support as a sponsor of the club

Atlético de Madrid statement

Dalian Wanda became the first company from mainland China to invest in a premier European soccer club.

The move is part of a debt-reduction strategy by Dalian Wanda, a name that is also familiar to Spaniards because of a highly publicized business transaction involving a landmark building in Madrid’s Plaza de España.

Miguel Ángel Gil and Enrique Cerezo, CEO and chairman of the club, respectively, remain the majority shareholders of the club.

Dalian Wanda Group chief Wang Jianlin.
Dalian Wanda Group chief Wang Jianlin.Reuters

“Quantum Pacific Group has reached an agreement with Dalian Wanda Group to acquire its 17% share capital of Atlético de Madrid,” reads the statement on Atlético’s webpage.

But the club has underscored that Wanda will remain a partner in other ways.

“Wanda maintains its support as a sponsor of the club, which can be seen in the name of the club’s stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano, which, for the coming years, will continue being the name of the stadium,” says the statement.

The recently completed Wanda stadium has been home to Atlético since the start of the current 2017-18 season. Located in the Rosas neighborhood in the northeast of the city, it replaced Vicente Calderón stadium, which will be demolished to make way for a new development.

Chinese giant Wanda acquired a 20% stake in Atlético in 2015 for €45 million. Since then, Dalian Wanda has been divesting itself of assets. In July of last year the company announced it would sell off part of its hotel and entertainment complex network.

Quantum Pacific Group is owned by Idan Ofer, an Israeli multimillionaire who acquired a 15% stake in Atlético last November for around €50 million. Ofer’s business group is active in shipping, mining and energy. His father, the deceased Sami Ofer, was one of the founders of the cruise line company Royal Caribbean.

English version by Susana Urra.

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