China's most successful football club and newly-crowned Asian champion Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao is seeking to raise as much as $400 million, it said, as its financial performance fails to match the fireworks on the pitch. The team, universally known as Evergrande, won its second AFC Champions League title in just three years on Saturday. But the club, which is majority owned by Chinese property developer Evergrande with a 60 percent stake and e-commerce giant Alibaba with a 40 percent stake, lost $75 million last year.
It will raise up to 2.65 billion yuan ($414 million) by issuing up to 66.2 million shares on China's little-known National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) market, it said in a statement. When it listed on the exchange earlier this month, the 375 million shares in issue at 40 yuan each gave it a notional market capitalization of a jaw-dropping $2.35 billion - putting it in a similar league to New York Stock Exchange-listed Premier League club Manchester United, which is worth $3 billion. Little-known Shenzhen Grandland Decoration Group said late Thursday it would buy 3.75 million shares in the fundraising, giving it just under 1 percent of the club. It was the first new investor to identify itself, and said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that becoming a shareholder in the club would "increase its domestic and international reputation." In China, football clubs often serve their tycoon-owners by providing political capital, a show of hometown loyalty or a trophy in a business empire.