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Why Premier League clubs are turning to an Australian bank in big numbers

Teams in England’s top two divisions are taking sizeable loans from Macquarie, at times mortgaged against future TV earnings

It was once dubbed the “vampire kangaroo” and accused of “feasting on Britain’s creaking infrastructure” after investing in companies such as Thames Water and avoiding tax through a legal but controversial web of subsidiaries in Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands. But Macquarie Group Limited is a growing influence on English football, underlined on one day in January by Leicester and Wolves extending sizeable loans with the Australian investment bank that are mortgaged against future TV earnings.

Now with a portfolio that also includes Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United, Southampton, Swansea City, Watford, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers, a company estimated to manage almost £288bn worth of assets has emerged as the second-biggest lender behind Barclays Bank in an industry where owners continue to chase the dream. Since 2013 and encouraged by increased transparency in the game following the introduction of Uefa’s financial fair play regulations, Macquarie estimates that it has completed more than $1.5bn in loans across Europe’s major leagues, specialising in “transfer financing” and “media and sponsorship rights monetisation”.

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