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LAFC gets record-setting valuation of more than $700 million

Carlos Vela of Los Angeles Football Club celebrates a goal
Carlos Vela of LAFC celebrates his second goal of the MLS Western Conference semifinals last year.
(Getty Images)

Owners of the Los Angeles Football Club have partially bought out a stake held by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan in a deal that values the club at more than $700 million, the most ever for a Major League Soccer team, according to people familiar with the situation.

A handful of the club’s current owners bought half of Tan’s 20% stake, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the agreement isn’t public. The group plans to buy the other half internally as well.

LAFC has sold out all 37 MLS home games — regular season and postseason — it has played at Banc of California Stadium since joining MLS for the 2018 season.

Founder and chairman of Berjaya Corp., Tan has been looking to scale back his soccer portfolio, which includes Welsh club Cardiff City. Attempts to reach him through Berjaya and Cardiff City were not immediately successful.

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The LAFC deal continues a rapid uptick in team valuations for MLS, which starts its 25th season this weekend. Expansion fees — the cost to add a new team — have mushroomed to more than $300 million. Last year, Silicon Valley mogul Meg Whitman and her husband bought a stake in FC Cincinnati that valued the club at $500 million.

LAFC has a large ownership group comprising business executives, athletes, celebrities and private equity managers. The club is controlled by a trio of owners: Apollo Global Management senior partner Larry Berg, Ares Management co-founder Bennett Rosenthal, and Brandon Beck, co-founder of Riot Games.

Minority owners include Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, actor Will Ferrell, Magic Johnson, and former U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm and her husband, former baseball player Nomar Garciaparra.

LAFC joined MLS in 2018 as part of the league’s rapid expansion.


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