July 14, 2024


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Disney CEO Bob Iger, Willow Bay Close to Buying Controlling Stake in NWSL’s Angel City FC: Reports

Disney CEO Bob Iger, Willow Bay Close to Buying Controlling Stake in NWSL’s Angel City FC: Reports

Iger and Bey attend ACFC’s home game against the Orlando Pride at BMO Field on Sunday. (Photo by: Caitlin Mulcahy/Getty Images)

One of the newest teams in the National Women’s Soccer League may have a new owner. Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife, Willow Bay, dean of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, are close to buying a controlling stake in Angel City Soccer Club, according to multiple reports.

With the purchase, Iger and Pai will replace current majority shareholder and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Semaphore And demon The story was first reported Tuesday night, with The athlete Confirming this on Wednesday morning.

Angel City FC is currently valued at about $250 million, up from $180 million last fall, SporticoAccording to reports, Bay and Iger are expected to invest an additional $50 million, which would raise the club’s value to more than $300 million.

Iger and Bey attended Angel City’s home game against the Orlando Pride on Sunday, according to Kamran Nia of the Sporting Tribune. Angel City lost the game, 3-0.

ACFC was founded in 2020 and has a large and impressive ownership group. The group is led by actress Natalie Portman, venture capitalist Kara Nortman, and entrepreneur Julie Orman, in addition to Ohanian. A number of big names, including Billie Jean King, Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria, and former U.S. women’s national team stars Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and Julie Foudy, make up the large group of minority investors.

Ohanian has reportedly been looking to sell his stake since last fall, after becoming dissatisfied with the amount the team was spending. Although Angel City generated $31 million in revenue last year — nearly double what the next-highest-paid team spent — it also spent more than any other team in the league.

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Angel City boasts a fairly strong roster, including U.S. women’s national team stars Sydney Leroux and Christen Press, and rising star Alyssa Thompson. The club has had some success in three seasons, quickly taking off to Unexpected place in the playoffs Last season. However, the team currently sits in 11th place in the league, with a record of 4 wins, 3 draws and 8 losses so far.

the Los Angeles Times In March, the four owners reportedly voted to hire strategic investment firm Moelis & Co. to find an investor to take control of the board. According to the Los Angeles Times, although Ohanian is the largest individual shareholder, he does not have a majority stake or control of the board by sharing power with Portman, Nortman and Oehrman, giving him little control over how money is spent.

Ohanian’s wife, tennis star Serena Williams, and their daughter Olympia are shareholders in the club, and it is unclear whether the two would lose their stakes if the sale goes through.

The group, in addition to some notable names, is almost entirely made up of women — a rarity in the world of sports ownership and investment. In addition, the team hopes to continue to grow: Orman, the club’s president, He told The Athletic: In January 2023, she and the group hope to grow the club to a $1 billion valuation in the next few years.

If the sale goes through, Iger and Pai will be at the forefront of achieving that goal.