Abu Dhabi United Group
The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG), مجموعة أبوظبي الاتحاد للتنمية والاستثمار,' is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) private equity company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the UAE. The primary interest of the group is its ownership of City Football Group, a worldwide organisation most notably controlling Manchester City F.C., as well as several other international football clubs, although it holds interests in various other endeavours outside of the sporting world also.
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.
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 and signed off the deal on 1 September 2008, with due diligence completed on 23 September the same year.
The US-educated Sulaiman Al-Fahim was the public face of ADUG during the initial phase of the takeover - a larger-than-life figure often described as the "Donald Trump of Abu Dhabi". 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. Although he did bring in the Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid on the same day on which the takeover was agreed, Al-Fahim's targets rapidly made the club a target in the media, and only one week after ADUG took control of the club Al-Fahim was removed from his role to be replaced by the much more restrained Khaldoon al-Mubarak, 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. In 2012, the club won the Premier League, their first league title for forty-four years.
Following the success of the Manchester club, ADUG began investment into other football teams. After founding the MLS side New York City FC and purchasing the A-League franchise Melbourne Heart FC (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, acting as holding company not only to the football teams but to several businesses designed to market football services to the wider market. In return, ADUG became the holding company for CFG.
Other business interests
ADUG also have an extensive property portfolio in the United Arab Emirates and abroad. Aside from Manchester City F.C., ADUG have amassed investments totalling nearly £1 billion in Manchester, mainly in property and higher education sectors. 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.
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