Caixin
BUSINESS & TECH

China Media Capital Takes Stake in Formula E Holdings

By Sun Baishan, Liao Yuanxin and Han Wei

(Beijing) -- China Media Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm, made an investment in Formula E Holdings, the official promoter of FIA Formula E Championship auto racing.

CMC, founded by media mogul Li Ruigang, made the investment in partnership with SECA, a sports marketing company in which CMC holds a stake, SECA told Caixin Tuesday. The companies didn’t disclose financial details, but CMC said the investment was in the “tens of millions of euros.”

Established in 2014, the Formula E Championship is the world’s first electric-powered single-seater racing series. Competitions take place in major cities around the world including Mexico City, Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, New York and Montreal. FIA is the 113-year-old Paris-based International Automobile Federation that governs Formula One racing and other motor sports.

By investing in Formula E, CMC and SECA will help expand the event’s presence in China, CMC Chairman Li Ruigang said in a statement.

The Chinese partners plan to introduce Formula E racing to the mainland, although no timetable has been set, Li Han, SECA’s public relations chief, told Caixin.

Formula E has set up partnerships with Chinese TV stations and online video sites including CCTV and iQiyi.com to broadcast races in China. In 2016, 488,000 Chinese viewers watched the race in Hong Kong via the Internet, according to Formula E.

The investment in Formula E adds to CMC’s expanding worldwide portfolio of sports businesses. In 2015, CMC partnered with CITIC Capital to acquire a 13% stake in City Football Group, owner of the Manchester City football club in England, for $400 million. That same year, CMC acquired exclusive global soccer broadcast rights to the Chinese Super League for five years.

In 2016, CMC made a series of investments in domestic sports companies including SoccerWorld China, Lanxiong Sports and Beijing Wesai Era Sports Technology Co., with businesses ranging from player agents to sports organizations and stadium operations.

CMC has been planning to spin off its sports assets to form an independent business division, CMC’s investment chief Fang Ning said at a sports industry summit organized by Caixin last December.

Disclosure: China Media Capital is the biggest shareholder of Caixin Media Co. Ltd.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

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