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Israeli group takes 15% stake in Atletico Madrid soccer club

Billionaire Idan Ofer reportedly behind $59 million investment in club struggling for liquidity after building new stadium

Illustrative image of Real Madrid soccer team, January, 2105. (CC BY DSanchez17, Wikimedia Commons)
Illustrative image of Real Madrid soccer team, January, 2105. (CC BY DSanchez17, Wikimedia Commons)

MADRID, Spain — Atletico Madrid announced that it issued new shares on Thursday to allow an Israeli to invest €50 million ($59 million) in the club in exchange for a 15 percent stake.

In radio interviews late on Wednesday and early on Thursday, Enrique Cerezo, the Atletico chairman, refused to name the group involved and referred to the new investor as a “multinational” specializing in oil.

Spanish media said Cerezo was referring to Quantum Pacific, a holding company controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

Israel's richest man, Idan Ofer, with his late father, Sammy Ofer (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Israel’s richest man, Idan Ofer, with his late father, Sammy Ofer (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Atletico has been struggling for liquidity because of the €310 million cost of its recently completed 68,000 stadium.

This is the second injection of capital in two years for Atletico after the Chinese group, Wanda, owned by Wang Jianlin, took a 20% stake in 2015. The new stadium is named the Wanda Metropolitano.

Wanda Metropolitano stadium, home to Atletico Madrid, September 2017. (CC BY-SA JesVCB, Wikimedia Commons)

Cerezo said that he and the club’s chief executive, Miguel Angel Gil, held 65% of the club while the increase in total stock meant Wanda’s share was 17%.

Atletico was a Champions League finalist. in 2014 and 2016 but is struggling in its first-round group this season. Should the team fail to reach the knockout rounds, it will lose at least €6 million in revenue.

The Madrid sports daily Marca estimated that Atletico Madrid’s budget for 2017-18 was €343 million, up from 280 million the previous year.

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