City Football Group bid for Atletico Mineiro - report

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 7 (Reuters) - City Football Group (CFG), the Abu Dhabi company with investments in Manchester City and 10 other football clubs, has made a bid to buy Brazilian league champions Atletico Mineiro, Brazil website said on Monday.

The group offered around 1 billion reais ($195.64 million), the report said, but the bid was rejected as being too low.

City refuted the report and said no bid has been made for the Belo Horizonte club and no bid will be made in the future.

Atletico would not comment, saying it was “speculation.”

Atletico is heavily indebted to a group of local businessmen who loaned money to the club over the last few years and turned it into one of Brazil’s most successful.

The team won the Brazilian league and cup double last season and is building a brand-new stadium. Globo said the debt last year hit 1.3 billion reais.

If the deal was done Atletico would be the latest Brazilian club to fall into private hands since legislation was passed last year allowing outside investors to own Brazilian teams.

Until then, clubs had been owned by their members.

In recent months, Cruzeiro have been bought by a consortium led by Ronaldo, Botafogo were purchased by a group led by a part-owner of Crystal Palace, and a U.S. investment firm took control of Vasco da Gama.

CFG is one of the most powerful names in football and the majority owner of Manchester City, New York City FC, and Melbourne City.

It also has invested money in Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu in China, Mumbai City in India, Lommel SK in Belgium and Troyes in France.

($1 = 5.1115 reais)

Reporting by Andrew Downie

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