German insurance company Allianz has bought an 8 percent stake in reigning Champions League holders Bayern Munich. The deal will fully cancel the debt of one of the world’s most prominent and profitable football clubs.
Allianz had acquired 8.33 percent of the shares in Bayern Munich Football Club for 110 million euros ($150 million), Europe's biggest insurance company announced Tuesday.
The transaction was intended to broaden the firm's existing partnership with Bayern, the Munich-based insurer said in a statement, and would strengthen its presence in the Bayern's stadium, named Allianz Arena since 2005. Moreover, Allianz would be allowed to offer tailor-made products for football fans via the website of Bayern Munich, it added.
Bayern Munich, the reigning Champions League and Germany's Bundesliga title-holders, is one of the most profitable football clubs in Europe. In the 2012-2013 season, the club posted revenues of 431 million euros, up 17 percent on the previous season.
The deal with Allianz will allow Bayern to fully repay remaining debt on its new stadium, built in 2005 for about 340 million euros. In addition, some of the money would be invested in new youth and junior training facilities, Bayern President Ulli Hoeness said.
Noting that the transaction would make Bayern Munich debt-free, Hoeness said the proceeds would ensure the club could continue to compete with its biggest European rivals in the transfer market.
On a national level, Bayern Munich, who have not lost in 45 successive Bundesliga games, appears set to increase its lead over domestic competitors off the pitch. Strongest German rivals Borussia Dortmund grudgingly congratulated Bayern for the deal. Dortmund President Hans-Joachim Watzke said Wednesday the gap between Bayern and the rest of the Bundesliga clubs was sure to widen.
Despite the deal, Bayern Munich club members remain majority shareholders, owning a 75 percent of the shares. Other corporate investors in the club are German carmaker Audi and sports gear manufacturer Adidas, which hold a combined 17 percent.
uhe/ph (Reuters, sid, AP)