Abu Dhabi strikes deal for UK soccer club

Middle Eastern sovereign wealth investors have entered British football with The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, headed by ‘the Donald Trump of Abu Dhabi’, agreeing to buy Manchester City FC.

The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment will acquire Manchester City Football Club of the Premier League.

The sovereign wealth investment vehicle bought out former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is wanted in Thailand in relation to alleged fraud charges. Yesterday, the Abu Dhabi group signed a memorandum of understanding to buy the club before entering due diligence, according to the club’s website.

Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim will represent the investment vehicle on the club’s newly constituted board, according to Arabian Business

Al Fahim is chief executive of Hydra Properties, the United Arab Emirates developer behind several grand projects mainly located in the region, including Hydra Twin Towers and Hydra Village in Abu Dhabi. The scale of activity has earned Al Fahim the nickname, “The Donald Trump of Abu Dhabi.”

Manchester City is currently third in the Barclays Premier League after three games. Several Premier League clubs have been bought by foreign investors in recent years most notably Chelsea FC which was acquired by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003 and Liverpool FC which was acquired by Tom Hicks and George Gillet in 2007. In that instance the US sport tycoons stepped in after talks between Liverpool and the Dubai International Capital broke down. Dubai has since tried to buy Gillet’s 50 percent stake amid squabbles between the co-owners.