BARCELONA, Nov 16 — Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo said today the Liga club have launched a rights issue with the financial input of “an important Israeli multinational”, who will purchase a 15 per cent stake for €50 million (RM245.6 million).
Cerezo is the club’s majority shareholder along with chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin, and after the rights issue their share will fall from 72.5 per cent to 65 per cent.
The stake held by Chinese conglomerate Wanda, which owns the naming rights of the club’s new 67,000-capacity stadium the Wanda Metropolitano will fall from 20 per cent to 17, although they will still be the second largest shareholder in the club.
Cerezo added that minority shareholders, who hold three per cent in the club, will maintain their stake.
According to reports in the Israeli media, the new investment group is led by billionaire Idan Ofer, 62, estimated to be worth US$2.6 billion (RM10.8 billion).
“We’ve spent almost a year speaking to investors who want to buy shares in the club, and this morning the board approved the incorporation of 15 per cent of an important company, a multinational,” Cerezo told radio station Onda Cero today.
“It’s an important Israeli group that among other businesses deals in oil and it is the one that interested the most of all the groups we dealt with. They are going to pay €50 million for 15 per cent.”
Atletico, who in 2016 had debts of €483 million, are under renewed financial pressure after relocating from the Vicente Calderon to their new arena in September, a move Cerezo has said cost the club €310 million.
The club also splurged a combined €95 million in the summer on signing Spain internationals Diego Costa and Vitolo, who are not eligible to play until Atletico’s ban on registering new players for the illegal transfer of minors ends on January 1.
Israeli trading platform Plus 500 have sponsored Atletico’s shirt since 2015, paying €42.5 million over four years, according to the club’s accounts.
Atletico are the third most successful club in Spanish football, with 10 Liga titles and 10 King’s Cups to their name.
In 2014, they broke Real Madrid and Barcelona’s nine-year stranglehold on the Liga trophy and reached the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016, losing both times to neighbours Real.
They are currently fourth in the standings on 23 points, eight adrift of leaders Barcelona, and host bitter local rivals Real on Saturday in the first city derby at Wanda Metropolitano.
According to the club’s accounts as of June 30, 2016, Atletico has revenues of €218 million and core profit of €24.3 million.
A big chunk of the club’s debt is guaranteed by Cerezo and Marin. The club are planning to reduce the debt with the sale of land of the site of their former Vicente Calderon stadium. — Reuters