Who knew that Alibaba would be interested in football all of a sudden? The giant conglomerate announced during a press conference that it will buy a 50 per cent stake in one of China’s top soccer teams: the Guangzhou Evergrande Football Club.
The deal is worth RMB 1.2 billion yuan (US$192 million) according to Xinhua. This led to football fans wondering why Alibaba did not buy the Hangzhou Greentown Football Club, a team that’s from the same state Alibaba was founded in. CEO Jack Ma said that there were talks about owning shares in the Hangzhou team, as per a Techweb report, but nothing surfaced in the end.
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Alibaba has been on a buying spree, most likely to cover whatever lucrative areas of tech or entertainment it lacks in. It bought Youku a while ago for US$1.22 billion and ChinaVision Media Group for US$804 million.
The Guangzhoue Evergrande is a leading football team in China and is headed by former Italian national team coach Marcello Lippi. The team earned its fame by being the first Chinese team to win the Asian Football Confederation Champions League in 2013.
It’s rather sudden that a conglomerate known for buying tech-focussed companies has invested in a sports team. Who knows where Alibaba will strike next with its pocketful of money?