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Yao Capital seeks to step up investment deals with US fund

Yao Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by former Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, is to launch a US-dollar fund to invest in overseas sports properties with ties to the Chinese market.

Yao Capital’s co-founder David Han told the Reuters news agency that the fund will hopefully launch later this year. Han said that the firm is talking to university endowments and private wealth managers over the fund, which it is hoped will raise $250m (€223m).

The firm has opted to launch the fund following China’s introduction of more stringent rules surrounding overseas investments.

“Many of our targets are abroad,” Han said. “When the (Chinese) government tightened late last year, things did become difficult for us. There's no doubt that a dollar fund can facilitate our investments overseas."

Han is lining up investments in the US and Europe, as well as China, and he said each deal would be carefully considered. “We won’t make overseas investment randomly,” he said. “It must have a China angle. The targets will certainly be able to be linked to the Chinese market.”

Yao Capital is said to be targeting sectors including sports medicine, gaming and sports rights for the new US fund.

Last September, Yao Capital acquired a significant stake in Glory Sports International, which operates the Glory kickboxing series. The value or size of the shareholding was not disclosed.