Manchester City are continuing their bid for global domination after they announced their acquisition of Melbourne Heart FC of the A-League.
The Football Federation Australia confirmed the purchase, with City paying $12 million for an 80 percent stake, per Sebastian Hassett of the Sydney Morning Herald:
FFA confirms the world's richest club, Manchester City, has bought an 80% stake in Melbourne Heart today. Cost: $12 million #MCFC— Sebastian Hassett (@sebth) January 22, 2014
The other 20 percent stake will belong to the Melbourne Storm's ownership group.
In a statement on Manchester City's website, club CEO Ferran Soriano said:
We are excited about the opportunity to make Melbourne Heart one of the most successful football clubs in Australia and throughout the region.
We believe the strong sports culture of Melbourne combined with the football and commercial expertise within our consortium will make for a powerful combination both on and off the pitch.
As football journalist Philippe Auclair joked, instead of buying a player during the January transfer window, City went and bought an entire club:
This is now the second football club that Manchester City have partnered with in an ownership capacity, following their collaboration with the New York Yankees on the brand new MLS franchise New York City FC. City remain the majority owner with NYCFC, with the Yankees helping to get the gears in motion for the club's new stadium.
It's rumored that Yankee Stadium will house NYCFC until they find more permanent surroundings, per Empire of Soccer's Dave Martinez.
Buying an A-League club is a great way for City to grow their brand in an expanding market. And much like MLS, the A-League is only growing in stature.
Melbourne Heart are last in the league table, with another 12 matches to come. They're relatively new to the scene, having been founded in 2008, but with Sheikh Mansour and his United Arab Emirate partners, supporters can count on a hefty financial injection to turn the club's fortunes around in the immediate future.