After months of rumors it’s finally official: Earlier today, City Football Group announced they now have a controlling interest in Esporte Clube Bahia after reportedly paying close to $200 million. According to CFG, the group “became the majority shareholder of Bahia SAF holding 90% of its shares.”
Bahia will be the 13th club in CFG’s ever-expanding portfolio. Other clubs include Manchester City in the English Premier League, New York City FC in Major League Soccer, and Girona FC in La Liga.
Hudson River Blue first reported on the deal back on September 26, 2022. At the time, Salvador newspaper Jornal A Tarde stated that CFG agreed to pay R$1 billion ($200 million) for 90% of the holding group. In addition, CFG agreed to invest in players for the men’s and women’s teams, improve facilities and infrastructure, and assume $57 million in debt.
That $200 million payment represents the second-largest investment made by CFG, trailing only the $350 million spent on acquiring Manchester City in 2008.
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Founded in 1931, Bahia compete in Brazil’s Série A. Bahia have spent most of their history in Série A, and won the national title in 1959 and 1988, but in the last 15 years, they have gone up and down between the top two tiers. Bahia was relegated at the end of the 2021 season, after finishing in 18th place in the 20-team league, but then earned promotion again at the end of the 2022 season.
Bahia play their games in the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, a 48,000-seat arena built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, CFG CEO Ferran Soriano sounded bullish on the future of Bahia. “In this moment, this a hugely important moment for us. We celebrate today the first day which will certainly be a long-term project, and the first day of a journey to take Bahia to the maximum of its potential,” Soriano said. “In our strategy, it is fundamental not just to keep this relationship between Bahia and the society, but to deepen it. We want Bahia to grow sporting-wise, economically, and socially.”