(Yicai Global) July 27 -- Fosun International Ltd. [HKG:0656], one of China's largest investment groups, is to fully acquire English championship football club the Wolverhampton Wanderers for an estimated GBP45 million (USD59 million).
This is the latest in a series of acquisitions of European football clubs by Chinese investors as they look to cash in on the huge financial rewards that can be reaped from teams that are promoted to the Premier League.
So far this year, Rastar Group Co. has bought 54 percent equity in Spanish premier league club Real Club Desportivo Espanyol for EUR60 million (USD65.94 million), English premier league club Aston Villa was fully acquired by the Recon Group for GBP60 million (USD78.8 million) and Suning Commerce Group purchased 70 percent equity in Italian football club Inter Milan for the price of EUR270 million (USD296.75 million).
The English Premier League is the most profitable of the five big leagues, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers are very close to the premier league, according to Fosun International representative Mr. Jeff Shi.
Fosun will also help the club develop the Chinese market and creating more channels for interactions with its fans in China. Sports tourism, leveraging club events, young player training, local historical and cultural resources will all be directions for development, Mr. Shi said.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers team was founded in 1877 and is one of the founding members of the English Football League, established in 1888. The club has won ten league championships, including three top league championships, four Football Association Cups and two English League Cups.