Abu Dhabi United Group
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Abu Dhabi United Group

Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment
Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG)
Native name
? ? ?
Sports services
FounderHRH Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Key people
Khaldoon Al Mubarak
OwnerHRH Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
SubsidiariesCity Football Group

The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG), ? ? ?,' is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) based private equity company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan,[1] member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the UAE.[2][3]

The primary interest of the group is its ownership of City Football Group, a worldwide organisation most notably controlling Manchester City F.C, Melbourne City F.C and New York City F.C., as well as several other international football clubs. However, it also holds interests in various other endeavours outside of the sporting world with an extensive property portfolio in the United Arab Emirates and Manchester.

It was initially thought that Abu Dhabi United Group was a part of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund owned by Abu Dhabi. But Abu Dhabi United Group had denied connection to the government of Abu Dhabi.[4]

City Football Group

The Group was founded in the summer of 2008, as Sheikh Mansour looked to take over Manchester City Football Club from the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra[5] and signed off the deal on 1 September 2008,[6] with due diligence completed on 23 September the same year.[7]

The US-educated Sulaiman Al-Fahim was the public face of ADUG during the initial phase of the takeover - a larger-than-life figure[8] often described as the "Donald Trump of Abu Dhabi".[9] On completion of the takeover, Al-Fahim generated considerable attention in the footballing world with promises of grandiose spending plans to capture the world's greatest footballing talents.[10] Although he did bring in the Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid on the same day on which the takeover was agreed,[11] Al-Fahim's targets rapidly made the club a target in the media,[12] and only one week after ADUG took control of the club Al-Fahim was removed from his role[13] to be replaced by the much more restrained Khaldoon al-Mubarak,[14] who remains in position to the present day.

In 2011, Manchester City qualified for the Champions League and won the FA Cup, providing the club their first success in over three decades following ADUG's support.[15] In 2012, the club won the Premier League, their first league title in forty-four years.[16]

Following the success of the Manchester club, ADUG began investment into other football clubs. After founding the MLS side New York City FC[17] and purchasing the A-League franchise Melbourne Heart FC[18] (shortly afterwards renamed Melbourne City FC), it was deemed necessary to create a new infrastructure to manage the various worldwide footballing ventures, and to keep them separate from non-footballing business. For this purpose, City Football Group was created in 2014 to oversee all of the teams under their control,[19] acting as holding company not only to the football teams but to several businesses designed to market football services to the wider market.[20] In return, ADUG became the holding company for CFG.[19]

Other business interests

ADUG also have an extensive property portfolio in the United Arab Emirates and abroad.[21] Aside from Manchester City F.C., ADUG have amassed investments totalling nearly £1 billion in Manchester, mainly in property and higher education sectors.[22][23] Aside from purchasing assets for their own control, ADUG signed a ten-year partnership with Manchester City Council to revamp the east end of the city - not coincidentally the same area in which Manchester City are based - creating the Manchester Life Development Company in conjunction with the council in order to build 6,000 affordable houses in the area.[24][25]

Masdar and Mubadala Developments, sister investment vehicles of Abu Dhabi managed by Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak also holds numerous investments which are linked to ADUG.[26]

See also


  1. ^ "Company Overview of Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ Randall, Colin (9 September 2008). "Mansour to replace Man City directors". TheNational.ae. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ "UAE Federal e-Government Portal - Ministry of Presidential Affairs". government.ae. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  4. ^ "Manchester City's new owners put national pride before profit". Guardian Media Group. 1 September 2008. Archived from the original on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  5. ^ "Manchester City's new owners put national pride before profit". The Guardian. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "Manchester City Takeover". ArabianBusiness.com. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  7. ^ "Hughes to hold City owner talks". bbc.co.uk. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  8. ^ "The crazy world of Dr Al Fahim". The Guardian. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "Arabian might at Eastlands". BBC Sport. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  10. ^ "Manchester City plan £135m bid for Cristiano Ronaldo". The Guardian. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ "Man City beat Chelsea to Robinho". BBC Sport. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ "Football learns money is global". 4 September 2008. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ "Manchester City front man Sulaiman Al Fahim sidelined". The Guardian. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 2015.
  14. ^ "TAKEOVER TUESDAY". News of the World. 21 September 2008. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ "Man City 1 - 0 Stoke". BBC Sport. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ "Man City 3 2 QPR". BBC Sport. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "Major League Soccer announces New York expansion team: New York City Football Club". mlssoccer.com. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  18. ^ "Club Statement: 22 January 2014". mcfc.co.uk. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ a b "MANCHESTER CITY ANNUAL REPORT 2012-13" (PDF). mcfc.co.uk. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "Manchester City FC have plans for global brand domination". The Daily Telegraph. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ "Manchester City owner buys St Regis hotel on Saadiyat Island from TDIC". The National. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ "Abu Dhabi United Group financing Manchester homes". BBC News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  23. ^ "Major new partnership will deliver thousands of Manchester homes". Manchester City Council. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  24. ^ "City owner and council to build 6,000 new homes in £1bn deal". Manchester Evening News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  25. ^ "COMMENT: Why is Abu Dhabi investing so much in Manchester?". Daily Express. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  26. ^ "3000 room student village to be developed at The University of Manchester". University of Manchester. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 2015.

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