Los Angeles FC (LAFC), of North American soccer's top-tier MLS, have acquired a majority stake in Swiss soccer club Grasshopper Club (GC) Zürich.
Along with the majority stake, LAFC have also entered into an official long-term strategic partnership with the club, with Grasshopper Fussball Stiftung continuing to hold a minority stake in the club.
Moelis & Company acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Grasshopper Football Ltd for the deal.
LAFC have stated that the acquisition will “focus on talent development … will be a strategic cornerstone of the long-term partnership.”
LAFC co-president and chief business officer Larry Freedman said: “We are so excited to partner with GC Zürich. Grasshopper Club Zürich is an iconic brand in both Swiss and European football, with an incredible tradition of success and a foundation built on developing top-level talent.
“LAFC is honored to work together on this long-term partnership with the GC Zürich community and all the supporters as we begin our collaboration.”
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Member of the GC Zürich supervisory board András Gurovits added: “We warmly welcome LAFC to GC Zürich. In our initial talks and throughout all of our discussions, we feel confident that this long-term partnership will move this special club in the right direction.”
GC Zürich were previously owned by Chinese news anchor Jinyuan (Jenny) Wang, the wife of Guangchang Guo, the founder and co-chairman of Chinese multinational business conglomerate Fosun International.
The club have won a record 27 Swiss Championships and 19 Swiss Cup titles, having been formed in 1886. They are currently eighth in the Swiss Super League.
LAFC, meanwhile, were formed in 2018, with the club's ownership group comprised of video game studio Riot Games founder Brandon Beck, asset management firm Ares co-founder Larry Berg, and investment fund partner Bennett Rosenthal.
The club have won the 2022 MLS Cup, as well as the 2019 and 2022 Supporters’ Shield, and are currently third in the MLS’ Western Conference.
The GC Zürich deal follows LAFC's investment in Austria’s fourth-tier FC Wacker Innsbruck and the founding of the joint talent development venture Red&Gold Football with its partners German soccer giants FC Bayern Munich, both taking place in 2023.