California tech billionaire buys ownership stake in FC Cincinnati, club says

California tech billionaire buys ownership stake in FC Cincinnati, club says
FCC has added two new owners, the club announced Wednesday. (Photo: FC Cincinnati) (Source: FC Cincinnati)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - FC Cincinnati has two new owners with the addition of California billionaire Meg Whitman and her husband, Griff Harsh, MD, the club announced Wednesday.

Whitman, 63, reportedly purchased a minority 20 percent stake in the soccer club for $100 million, according to FOX19 NOW’s media partners the Cincinnati Enquirer.

That puts the club’s current valuation at $500 million, a figure that includes its $250 million West End stadium, its $35 million Milford practice facility and a $150 million MLS expansion fee.

Related | FC Cincinnati holds grand opening of new training center in Milford | FC Cincinnati begins selling suites in its West End Stadium | FC Cincinnati opens 2020 season ticket sales to public for final year at Nippert Stadium

Whitman, the club says, is currently CEO of Quibi, a mobile media platform. Formerly she was the president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard and, before that, the president and CEO of eBay.

She reportedly began her career at Procter and Gamble and retains a seat on the Cincinnati company’s board of directors today.

“Cincinnati has a special place in my heart and I’m so pleased to join FC Cincinnati at this exciting juncture in the club’s history,” Whitman said. “FC Cincinnati and soccer have both already proven to be cultural forces in the market. Between the crowds at Nippert Stadium and the corporate commitments it has drawn, it’s a team with an exceptionally high ceiling.”

Whitman’s husband, Harsh is the Julian R. Youmans Chair in Neurological Surgery at the University of California, Davis.

Together, Whitman and Hash reportedly represent the first major investors in FCC to originate from outside Greater Cincinnati.

Their ownership stake was approved by the Major League Soccer board of governors Wednesday.

“I am very pleased to have Meg and Griff join Carl Lindner and his partners as part of FC Cincinnati’s ownership group,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “I have known Meg for many years and look forward to her contributing her tremendous business experience as a member of our Board of Governors.”

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