Chinese billionaire buys 20% of Atlético Madrid

Dalian Wanda Group, headed by Wang Jianlin, invests €45 million

Wang Jianlin presented with shirt by Cerezo and Miguel Angel Gil

Wang Jianlin presented with shirt by Cerezo and Miguel Angel Gil

Atlético Madrid have officially announced today at an event in Beijing that the Dalian Wanda Group has purchased a 20% stake in the club through a €45 million investment.

The chairman of the group, Wang Jianlin, is worth $13.2bn according to Forbes, and he is looking to expand his business empire.

The 60-year-old is China’s second richest man behind Jack Ma of Alibaba, and this is thanks-in-part to heading up China’s biggest property company – Dalian Wanda.

It is the first Chinese company to invest money in a top European football club.

“Wanda Group’s capital contribution in the Club will allow Atlético de Madrid to significantly shore up its balance sheet, as well as accelerate the growth of its brand globally,” read a statement on the official club website.

Miguel Ángel Gil remains the main shareholder, now with around 52% shares, according to Marca. Enrique Cerezo, club president, has 20% of the shares, the same amount just acquired by Wanda. 5% is owned by the rest of the Gil family, whilst the remaining 3% sits with minority shareholders.

The agreement is not just about injecting capital into to Atlético – there will also be some rojiblanco football academies set up in China, and a summer friendly tour of China for the players.

The day-to-day running of the club will remain the same – although now a member of the Wanda Group will sit on the Atleti board representing Wang Jianlin.

What do you think of this news? Do you think this is good or bad for Atlético?


  • Urban

    At this point it is impossible to judge if this is good or bad new.

    One thing is certain: this has HUGE potential, much bigger than the 45 mln already invested.

    From the top of my mind, we gain access to enormous markets in Asia, football schools to fish for new players there (btw this is brilliant move, in such a huge country as China and with their work ethic there must be tons of raw football talent waiting to be explored and yet nobody has seriously tried to do that) and last but not least cash to invest in the stadium and what not.

    In turn, after watching a couple of interviews with Jianlin he appears to me as a very practical man. Make no mistake, he might be a sincere football fan, but in the first place Atletico is just a vessel for him to spread his businass worldwide.

    Nowe everything depends on Jianlin’s determination to further contribute to the club.

    Jianlin has the resources to invest big in Atletico. For example, Abramovich looks like a midget compared to Jianlin. He has approx. 9 bln USD and is 130 wealthiest man according to Forbes, while Jianlin with his 13 bln USD is 40. I do not even mention Lim who has “only” 2 bln USD and is 813.

    What worries me is the fact that when Lim came to Valencia he already had clear plans: to pay off debts, build stadium, invest in team. Here we have nothing concrete so far.

  • starvs

    To be determined what type of effect this has, id presume not massive. 45 million is near what youd make from one good CL run. 45 million will maybe get you one world class player these days. Cant be that game changing?

    What I keep coming back to is, how can the club be valued at only 225 million? I understand the debt and all, that still seems like a very low number though.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Good news of course. What we will have to do tho is remain patient and watch the changes that may have to come from our business men at the top. Asia is a huge market and having that link and doing the summer tour will be excellent for our brand

  • atleti10

    Its exactly that, the debt. 45m for 20 percent is actually quite good if you ask me considering he now owns 20 percent of the debt which if is around the 400m mark means 80m in debt. Whilst the debt of course does not transfer to him it is still relative to the valuing of his investment.

    The positive is that we are not exposed to our Billionaire owner having a change of heart (Malaga and Anzhi) as he only owns 20 percent and Im sure the club will not over extend itself financially (again). Even if he doesn’t invest more he has paid down debt and cannot influence decisions. Provided Gil and Cerezo maintain the majority which in my opinion should be at least 70% (In case they need to sell more shares in a crisis situation) then this is a great deal for the club. And if he does provide Cholo with a nice transfer budget well brilliant, as long as its Cholo making the signings of course.

  • kiko

    I believe this deal primarily has to do with the stadium. I’ve seen it all too often to notice a certain trend in a lot of these deals where the investor doesn’t purchase the whole team. And he is a REAL ESTATE MAGNATE after all. Might have to do with what will happen to vicente calderon after the team moves. He basically bought access to the use of the property in the future by leveraging the teams debt. 45mill euros for prime Madrid real estate is a steal! Hopefully it works out well in sporting/merchandising for us for a really long time! BIGGEST win I think is Simeone sees the team is going places and doest envy coaching positions elsewhere!

  • I’m not a business expert, and I guess many of us here are not either, but let me clear out some points, some of them are well-known facts :

    1- Because of the great excitement, some suddenly forgot about Platini’s Financial Fair Play Law
    Chelsea, Man City, PSG can not spend as they want anymore, even Real Madrid had to sell Alonso & Di Maria after signing James & Kroos, of course there were other reasons, but the FFP was the main reason, even though the Madridista sports media will never admit it

    And even without FFP, Jianlin is a true businessman who made his fortune after a very hard work, and he didn’t get it just because he was born a prince in an Arabian Gulf country or because he is a friend with Vladimir Putin

    So, just forget about crazy spending on transfer markets

    2- According to journalists very close to the club, the 20% Jianlin bought came from Gil Marin’s share, but he didn’t put a single euro in his pocket, all that money will go directly to the taxes in order to make our debt to them reach zero
    and before Jianlin money it reached 80 million after it exceeded 400 million

    3- Paying a big amount of money for our debt is the first benefit of this deal, but there is more :
    – Our capital will increase, which will make LFP raise both our transfer and salaries ceilings
    – Jianlin is a very strong man with great influence, and that will bring us big commercial deals
    – Being a Chinese, he will open this 1.36 billion-people market to us
    just after few minutes from signing the deal, the club official website added a Chinese language page

    4- About the new stadium, we don’t need his help
    The stadium already won’t cost us a euro, the constructions co. will be paid by owning the land of the Calderon, and the several delays were just because some laws and some paper works, thanks to Rajoi

    5- It may seems not related, but it does : I want to talk about Peter Lim
    this is related because Lim was about to buy a share of Atletico, but his friend -who really is not- Jorge Mendes convinced him to buy the majority of Valencia
    and now Mendes is the one on charge of the club, just like he is in Monaco with the other idiot Rybolovlev
    He turned both clubs into transit stations for his clients, how many seasons did Falcao & James stay with Monaco ?! and are Nuno & Jardim high profile coaches to take charge of Valencia & Monaco, or just because they are his clients and his compatriots ?! and did the 28-year old midfielder Enzo Perez really deserve 25 million, and how much of that money went to Benfica ?!!

    and beside Mendes, Lim -comparing to the Arabs, the Russians & Jianlin- is a poor man !
    just like Urban mentioned : 2 billion .. he can’t even afford to both pay the debt and complete the new stadium .. he has to pick just one

    Lim & Mendez are going to destroy Valencia, and Valencia fans are living either in oblivion or denial

    Overall : I think that was a great deal, but it will take some time to see its result, so don’t expect that next summer we will return the favor to Chelsea and sign their best 3 players or that we will bring Falcao back .. be patient