FC Cincinnati has a new minority owner and it's not a small deal.
Silicon Valley billionaire and former CEO of Hewlett Packard Meg Whitman is buying a 20% stake in the Cincinnati soccer team, according to a report by Bloomberg, making the value of the team $500 million.
FC Cincinnati majority owner Carl Lindner III, in a statement, welcomed Whitman and husband, Griff Harsh.
"At the heart of our ownership group is a love and connection to Cincinnati. With Meg's background and network in our city, she and her family are a perfect fit for our club. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise in support of our ambitions and goals. We expect Meg and Griff will play a large role not only at the club level, but will also serve an influential role at the league level."
On Twitter, a team spokeswoman calls the news "incredible" and says, "Certainly made for an interesting and busy get-away day before Thanksgiving, but so definitely worth the work to get this out and official."
Absolutely incredible news for @fccincinnati today.
Certainly made for an interesting and busy get-away day before Thanksgiving, but so definitely worth the work to get this out and official! https://t.co/wmyksmTmGq
— Lizz Summers (@LizzSum) November 27, 2019
Whitman is a board member of Procter & Gamble and started her career at the company's Cincinnati headquarters.
She tells Bloomberg the city "has a special place in my heart," adding, "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."
Most recently, Whitman was part of Sacramento's bid to land an MLS expansion team. She pulled out of the plan in December 2017, just days after being announced as part of the planned ownership group.
Whitman becomes the sixth woman to sit on MLS' board and will be FC Cincinnati's second representative along with Lindner, Bloomberg reports and the team confirms.