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HONG KONG — Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid has confirmed that the Chinese property to cinemas group Dalian Wanda is buy a 20% stake in the club.

In a statement on its website Atletico said that it would hold a rights issue with all the new shares to be bought by Wanda for Euros45 million.

Wanda owns the AMC Entertainment cinema chain in North America, and is the 89% owner of Wanda Cinema Line in China.

“Wanda’s investment in Atletico de Madrid is another step in our efforts to build a comprehensive entertainment portfolio for our domestic and international clients,” said Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin. The company also owns a Chinese soccer team in Dalian and is a major sponsor of the China Super League.

Miguel Angel Gil Marín said: “this is a major step for the club in its efforts to build a leading global brand that will provide the financial resources to remain competitive in Europe and provide riveting experiences for our fans.”

Wanda’s investment would be expected to shore up Atletico’s finances and help it win new fans and sponsorship in China. The club last year won the Spanish league – La Liga – and is currently lying third in this year’s championship.

The Wanda alliance may also put the club in a stronger position as it attempts to gain control of the broadcasting rights to its own games – a position which makes Real Madrid and Barcelona so strong.

Shares in Wanda Cinema Line are expected to begin trading Thursday (Jan. 22) in Shenzhen.