(Reuters) - A Chinese-backed consortium interested in acquiring a stake in Liverpool is willing to raise its valuation of the Premier League club closer to 1 billion pounds ($1.33 billion), Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a source familiar with the situation.
The consortium is a partnership between PCP Capital Partners and Chinese state-owned financial conglomerate Everbright. They had earlier valued Liverpool at about 750 million pounds, the source said.
However, in light of a surge in the Premier League’s broadcasting revenue and redevelopment work at the club’s Anfield stadium increasing capacity to more than 54,000 seats, the investor group is now ready raise its valuation, the source added.
Liverpool’s Boston-based owners, the Fenway Sports Group (FSG), have said the club is not for sale, but indicated they are open to offers for a minority stake in the 18-times English League champions.
The Financial Times reported last month that FSG had hired an investment bank to advise on a possible stake sale to the Chinese-backed group.
Chinese companies are increasingly interested in buying up stakes in European soccer clubs not only as good investments but also as a way to help President Xi Jinping’s bid to raise the profile of the sport in China.
Last month, Chinese investment groups announced deals to buy Italy’s AC Milan, English Premier League West Bromwich Albion and second-tier French side Auxerre.
Other recent recipients of Chinese backing include English clubs Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Inter Milan while Manchester City and Atletico Madrid have significant minority investments from the country.
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis