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Abu Dhabi-owned firm offers $190m for Brazilian soccer club

REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
The purchase is part of a funding bonanza in Brazilian soccer.

City Football Group (CFG), the owner of Manchester City English Premier League soccer team, made an offer of 1 billion reais ($190 million) for 90 percent of Brazilian club Esporte Clube Bahia, CFG said on Friday.

The purchase is part of a funding bonanza in Brazilian soccer, following the approval of a law that allowed clubs to seek outside investment.

Other professional clubs in the soccer-loving country have been bought in recent months, such as Belo Horizonte’s Cruzeiro, where former Real Madrid and Brazil striker Ronaldo bought a controlling stake, and Rio de Janeiro-based team Botafogo.

The bid for Esporte Clube Bahia, which plays out of Salvador city, still needs approval from the club’s members. The offer is well above the 650 million reais cited by club president Guilherme Bellintani to local media earlier this year when talks with CFG were first announced.

CFG is majority-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Its bid for Bahia includes an option to buy an additional five percent of the club.

If the offer is accepted, Esporte Clube Bahia, which plays in Brazil’s second-division pro league, would become the 13th club purchased by CFG.