UPDATE 1-Borussia Dortmund wins sponsor Evonik as investor

Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:30am EDT

* Dortmund follows Bayern Munich in seeking corporate funding

* Evonik extends shirt sponsorship agreement to 2025

* Dortmund says more strategic partnerships could follow

* Club to shop for "top players", to open Asia office (Adds financial details, background on corporate backing of clubs)

FRANKFURT, June 27 (Reuters) - German first-division soccer club Borussia Dortmund is taking a 26.7 million euro ($36.3 million) capital injection from its shirt sponsor, chemicals maker Evonik, who will get a 9.06 percent stake in the club in return.

Borussia Dortmund, the only listed German soccer club, plans to use the proceeds in the player transfer market, strengthen its equity base and open a representative office in Asia.

Dortmund, also known as BVB, extended its main sponsor agreement with Evonik to the 2024/2025 Bundesliga season. The current contract would have expired in 2016.

"The new sponsorship agreement and Evonik's stake in BVB mean we will be consistently able to field top players both in Germany and abroad," Dortmund Managing Director Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement.

Germany's largest lender Deutsche Bank earlier this month said it had considered taking a stake in the club but decided against it.

Evonik, a maker of high-tech plastics, feed additives and clear acrylic sheet, started sponsoring the soccer club in 2006 to boost public awareness of the Evonik brand, which it introduced in 2007. Its previous businesses were known as Degussa and RAG.

New shares are being issued to Evonik at 4.37 euros apiece, a 5 percent discount over the average closing price over the last five trading days, Dortmund said. The shares traded 1.6 percent lower at 4.45 euros at 1105 GMT.

The club from Germany's rust belt Ruhr valley region, is seen as the only one remotely able currently to pose a threat to Bayern Munich's dominance in German professional football.

Dortmund, Bundesliga champion in 2011 and 2012, finished second behind Bayern Munich in Germany's top league this season and also lost to Bayern in the cup final.

Dortmund is taking a page from rival Bayern's playbook in seeking more corporate backing.

In February insurer Allianz took an 8.33 percent stake in Bayern Munich for 110 million euros, joining sportswear maker Adidas and car maker Audi as minority shareholders.

The deal gave unlisted Bayern an implied valuation of 1.32 billion euros, more than four times Dortmund's current market value of 278 million euros, or close to 300 million when taking Evonik's capital injection into account.

Dortmund signalled there may be more projects to be funded by new investors.

"The Executive Board will continue its exploratory discussions with companies that have an interest in a strategic partnership," the club said.

($1 = 0.7359 Euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Edward Taylor and Sophie Walker)

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