Football: Hong Kong company to buy French second-tier side Sochaux

HONG KONG (AFP) - A Hong Kong company announced on Tuesday plans to buy French football club FC Sochaux-Montbeliard for seven million euros (S$10.8 million), as an increasing number of Chinese businessmen expand into the foreign sports market.

Tech Pro Technology Development, a listed electrical components manufacturer in the southern Chinese city, said late on Tuesday that it had agreed the terms of the deal with the club's owner Peugeot.

Tech Pro valued the deal at seven million euros, adding that it would acquire "all the issued share capital and voting rights".

Peugeot confirmed that they had received the letter of intent.

The once-glamorous side from eastern France was founded in 1928 as a works team for the Peugeot car factory, and has won both the Ligue 1 and the French Cup titles twice.

Last year, it was relegated from the top division following a disappointing season.

Chinese entrepreneurs have launched a series of bids to increase the nation's influence in global sports.

Mainland Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin recently bought 20 per cent of Spanish football champions Atletico Madrid.

Wanda group, the property flagship he controls, said this month it has agreed to buy Infront - the Swiss sports marketing group headed by Fifa boss Sepp Blatter's nephew and which holds some broadcasting rights to the World Cup.

Beijing has also bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and rumours swirl that China could seek to host the 2026 football World Cup.