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Dortmund in Sponsor Deal as Investors Flock to Bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund GmbH, the runner-up to Bayern Munich in this year’s Bundesliga, gained 26.7 million euros ($36.3 million) from a share sale to sponsor Evonik Industries AG, extending an eight-year partnership between the two companies.

Germany’s second-largest chemical maker, based in Essen, agreed to take a 9 percent share of the country’s only publicly listed soccer club, paying 4.37 euros apiece for 6.12 million new shares, Dortmund-based Borussia said in a statement today. Evonik also agreed to extend its sponsorship of the club until the end of the 2024/2025 soccer season.

The sale follows the purchase in January by KKR & Co. of a 9.7 percent stake in Hertha Berlin, which received a 61.2 million-euro cash injection as part of that deal. Insurer Allianz SE in February agreed to buy an 8.33 percent stake in Bayern Munich for 110 million euros, deepening its sponsorship of the Bundesliga title-holder.

“Investing in the Bundesliga is becoming a trend,” said Marcus Silbe, an analyst at Close Brothers Seydler Research in Frankfurt. “Dortmund has cemented its position as Germany’s No. 2. Its SDAX listing shows that it’s no longer a fan stock. Evonik will help them close the gap to Bayern.”

Dortmund, which first listed shares in 2000, fell 2 percent to 4.44 euros at 4:16 p.m. in Frankfurt trading for a market value of 273.3 million euros.

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The stock has increased almost fivefold in the five years through May 30, compared with a 157 percent return in the SDAX Index of the 50 biggest smallcap stocks in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The deal means Dortmund “will consistently be able to field top players both in Germany and abroad,” it said in the statement.

Dortmund, which won the Bundesliga in 2011 and 2012, has held the title five times in its 105-year history. Munich-based Bayern is a 24-time winner.

The rivalry between the clubs reached a peak in July 2013, when attacker Mario Goetze quit Dortmund for Bayern in a 37 million-euro transfer, the most expensive between two German clubs. Robert Lewandowski, the attacker who scored 20 goals for Dortmund last season, will start for Bayern next month on a five-year contract.

Evonik has been Dortmund’s main advertising sponsor since March 2006 and a previous agreement was scheduled to expire at the end of the 2015/2016 season. Dortmund supervisory board member Bernd Geske holds the biggest stake in the club, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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