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Guangzhou Evergrand FC: road to first listed football entity in Asia

By Yutang Sports 02 Jul 2015

Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. announced yesterday that they have applied to list its Alibaba-backed football club on trading board, which would make it China’s first soccer stock.

Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club is expected to be listed on China’s New Third Board, an over-the-counter market.

Evergrande Group last week returned as the club’s major stakeholder after expanding the share from a 50 percent stake to a 60 percent stake, while the rest are still held by Alibaba. In the meanwhile, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao became a limited company then more than a football club. The changes were seen as approaches by Evergrande Group to prepare listing their football club on market.

Xu Jiayin, the president of Evergrande Group, has revealed the plan to enlarge the number of stakeholders when holding the press conference of partnership with Alibaba last year.

Xu has kept his promise and it is rumored that Evergrande plans to issue 365 million shares at one yuan per share.

Guangzhou Evergarande FC is going to join in the likes of Manchester United FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC which have been listed on trading platform decades ago. But it is relatively rare to see a number of football clubs have been listed, especially with cases of top clubs like Real Madrid FC and Barcelona FC. So what on earth made heads of Guangzhou Evergrande FC decide to trade it?

First of all, it is fair to say Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC is a top football brand in Asia with a huge market alongside largest football academy, most expensive business deals and international players. Its dominance, in terms of football, in China or even in Asia has significantly enhanced the brand equity of the club. Therefore, the brand influence lays a good foundation for it to be added on the trading list.

In addition, Evergrande Group hope to see a boost in its assets valuation, profitability and fund-raising after listing its football club. Accordingly, they decided to list the club on New Third Board independently. And Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC will run as a separate company from Evergrande’s real estate sector when the trading succeeds.

But it also raises concerns from supporters worrying the club would cut spending if they could not receive enough money from investors.

Source: Southern Metropolis Daily, Bloomberg

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