China’s Wanda Sells Stake in Atletico Madrid – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine

Chinese property and entertainment group Dalian Wanda has sold a 17% stake in leading Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid.

Wanda is currently retreating from many of its foreign businesses following a crackdown by the Chinese government. The divestment move is also part of a process of debt reduction.

Wanda took a 20% stake in Atletico Madrid in early 2015, as part of a massive rush of acquisitions that expanded the Chinese group in the overseas property, sports and entertainment sectors.

“The decision to divest is part of the global strategy of Dalian Wanda Group. By mutual agreement with the majority shareholders of the club, it has been decided that Wanda’s participation in Atletico de Madrid should be acquired by one of the current reference shareholders of the club, Quantum Pacific Group, which in this way renews its willingness to invest and support the club,” said a statement posted on Wednesday on the club’s website. “Quantum will increase its current participation from 15% to 32%. Miguel Angel Gil and Enrique Cerezo, CEO and president of the club, respectively, remain the majority shareholders of the club.”

The Chinese company is expected to have some ongoing role. “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. And also to continue the ambitious project to educate and train children and young adults. Both entities have renewed the strategic agreement to develop the Atletico de Madrid brand in China through Wanda Sports,” said the statement.

In the past year, Wanda has sold many of its leisure facilities including theme parks and the Qingdao film studio, to Chinese corporate buyers, though in these cases Wanda intends to maintain management control. In recent months, it has sold off properties in London and Sydney and announced that it will sell its property in Beverly Hills. As part of other reorganization efforts it sold a chunk of Wanda Cinema Holdings to an investor group headed by Alibaba, and Tencent was announced as a lead investor in a financial restructuring of Wanda Commercial Properties.


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