Burkle Becomes Sac Republic's Investment 'Whale'

City and Sacramento Republic FC officials believe that billionaire financier Ron Burkle is the final piece to the financial puzzle they have been trying to put together for the past year in the bid to make the team the next Major League Soccer expansion franchise.  Burkle will be the lead investor in the team.

"Mr. Burkle is an exceptional leader and businessman, a champion sports owner, a dedicated philanthropist, and someone with a deep appreciation for Sacramento. He is the ideal person to lead the next chapter of our club," said Sacramento Republic FC Chairman & CEO Kevin Nagle.

Proposed Sacramento Republic stadium. Courtesy Sacramento Republic FC

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said on Tuesday that he will join Burkle and others on a trip to the MLS New York headquarters for a meeting with Commissioner Don Garber.  The group plans to make sure the league is aware of the changes in Republic's ownership group.  Steinberg also noted that he has already been talking with Garber and that the commissioner is encouraged by financial upgrade in Sacramento.

Burkle is not the only addition to the ownership group.  Matt Alvarez, a Los Angeles businessman who has worked on other deals with Burkle, will also buy a stake in the team, according to team officials.

The son of a grocer, Burkle's net worth is listed by Forbes to be two-billion dollars.  

He formed investment firm Yucaipa in 1986 and saw big returns from investments in the supermarket chains Fred Meyer, Jurgensen's, Ralphs and others.

Burkles reportedly invests mostly in private companies related to the food industry, but he has also invested in Airbnb, Uber, Foursquare, and in the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins franchise. 

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