Guadalajara owners buy out Chivas USA partners

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For those wondering what the next step will be for the fledgling Chivas USA brand, today’s surprise announcement out of MLS headquarters should lead to some interesting speculation.

Just before 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Major League Soccer announced that the Chivas Guadalajara ownership group led by Jorge Vergara and Angélica Fuentes had bought out their Chivas USA partners, brothers Antonio and Lorenzo Cué. The two “halves” had each previously owned 50 percent of the Major League Soccer franchise, but with the buyout, Vergara and Fuentes have complete control of the club.

From MLS’s press release (sent from the league office but under the Chivas USA banner):

Chivas USA announced today that Jorge Vergara and Angélica Fuentes have bought the 50 percent of the club owned by their previous partners, Antonio and Lorenzo Cué, making Vergara and Fuentes the sole owners of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club. The Cues were the managing partners of Chivas USA. Vergara and Fuentes previously owned 50 percent of Chivas USA and have been part of the club’s ownership since its inception.

“We are delighted to acquire the remaining interests in Chivas USA,” Fuentes said. “We are very excited about the future of Chivas USA,” stated Vergara.

In addition to their ownership of Chivas USA, Grupo Omnilife Founder Vergara, and Fuentes, the CEO of Grupo Omnilife, have owned one of Mexico’s most successful soccer clubs, Club Deportivo Guadalajara — commonly known as Chivas — since 2002.

So what does this mean for Chivas USA? Twenty-six minutes after the release was distributed, it’s far too early to tell, but my knee-jerk reaction comes up with three tracks:

  • First, this is going all-in on the Chivas brand, with the Guadalajara owners assuming full control to make sure that the Chivas vision is fully and consistently enacted; or,
  • This is a commonplace reshuffling: some owners moving on (for whatever reason) while other scoop up the stock; or finally,
  • This is consolidation that could enable other moves, be those with the current branding or otherwise.

To be clear: We have no reason to think Chivas USA won’t continue in its current form, but as Steve wrote earlier this month, something’s amiss. And it’s not just us bloggy-types that are saying so.

The direction of Chivas USA is a much-discussed issue. Today’s news is interesting, but right now, it doesn’t shed a ton of light on how things will unfold.