City Football Group (CFG), the Abu Dhabi company with investments in Manchester City and 10 other football clubs, have purchased a majority stake in Italian second-tier side Palermo, the Sicilian club announced on Monday.
The move was confirmed at a news conference in Palermo with City chief executive Ferran Soriano and former owner Dario Mirri, who retains a 20% stake in the club and will stay on as president.
“Our goal in the next few years will be to get into Serie A,” Soriano said. “It’s ambitious but this club needs Serie A and it won’t be easy because we’ll need hard work. Palermo is joining a family today.
“Palermo is a historic great club and has a strong and proud identity. We will work together with Dario Mirri to consolidate his extraordinary work, which aims — over the next few years — at Palermo’s sustainable growth. We are delighted that the City Football Group has extended its presence in Italy.”
CFG is one of the most powerful names in football and the majority owner of City, New York City FC, and Melbourne City. It is a holding company, with 78% owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group and minority stakes owned by American firm Silver Lake and Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.
The group has also invested money in Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu in China, Mumbai City in India, Lommel SK in Belgium and Troyes in France.
Serie B team Palermo have now been added to that list. The Sicilians went bankrupt in 2019 and began again as a phoenix club in Serie D, the fourth-tier of Italian football.
But they have rapidly risen back up through the ranks, earning promotion to Serie B earlier this month by winning the playoff final against Padova.