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China’s Wanda Sells Stake in Atletico Madrid Soccer Club

Dalian Wanda has sold a 17% stake in leading Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid – part of the Chinese property and entertainment group’s ongoing retreat from many of its foreign businesses following a crackdown by the Chinese government. The divestment is also part of its process of debt reduction.

Wanda took a 20% stake in Atletico Madrid in early 2015, one of a raft of acquisitions that expanded the company’s portfolio in overseas property, sports and entertainment.

“The decision to divest is part of the global strategy of Dalian Wanda Group,” a statement posted Wednesday on Atletico Madrid’s website said. “By mutual agreement with the majority shareholders of the club, it has been decided that Wanda’s participation in Atletico de Madrid should be acquired by one of the current reference shareholders of the club, Quantum Pacific Group, which in this way renews its willingness to invest and support the club. Quantum will increase its current participation from 15% to 32%.”

Wanda is expected to maintain its role “as a sponsor of the club, which can be seen in the name of the club’s stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano, which, for the coming years, will continue being the name of the stadium,” Atletico Madrid’s statement said. “And also to continue the ambitious project to educate and train children and young adults. Both entities have renewed the strategic agreement to develop the Atletico de Madrid brand in China through Wanda Sports.”

In the past year, Wanda has sold many of its leisure facilities, including theme parks and its massive Qingdao film studio complex, to Chinese corporate buyers, though in these cases Wanda intends to maintain management control. In recent months, it has also sold off properties in London and Sydney and announced that it will unload its property in Beverly Hills.

As part of other reorganization efforts it sold a chunk of Wanda Cinema Holdings to an investor group headed by Alibaba, and Tencent was announced as a lead investor in a financial restructuring of Wanda Commercial Properties.

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