Ecommerce giant Alibaba Group recently agreed to purchase a 50 percent stake in a popular Chinese soccer team. The deal, worth ¥1.2 billion ($192 million), was announced Thursday at a news conference in Guangzhou.
The club, Guangzhou Evergrande F.C., owned by the Evergrande Real Estate Group, is one of the most popular teams in China and won the Asian Champions League last year. Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Evergrande owner Hui Ka Yan struck the deal over drinks Tuesday night and confirmed the details on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News.
Alibaba has been on an acquisitions spree as it prepares for its initial public offering (IPO) in the United States. The IPO is expected to raise between $15 and $20 billion, potentially surpassing Facebook’s $16 billion IPO two years ago. In recent months, Alibaba Group has expanded its portfolio, investing in industries from logistics to online entertainment. The addition of a sports team to its portfolio will increase Alibaba’s presence in the entertainment industry as it attempts to attract investors.
Shares of Evergrande Group jumped 3.3 percent on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after the deal was announced, giving the real estate company a needed boost as real estate sales slow in China.