The Union have bought a piece of a team in Denmark

The Union announced Tuesday that they’ve bought a 10% stake in Danish first-division club Lyngby, with the option to buy another 10% in the future.

It marks the first time the Union have ventured into a multiclub partnership, something that’s becoming common around the world.

“Our process was driven by a desire to enhance the core strengths of our club and to better leverage the network Ernst [Tanner, the Union’s sporting director] has established in Europe,” Union principal owner Jay Sugarman said in a statement. “Our discussions and interactions have confirmed to us that Lyngby is a club that shares similar values and ambitions with the Union and we look forward to a mutually successful relationship going forward.”

In other words, it will benefit the Union to have a place to put young international prospects before they’re ready to play in MLS. The teams have already worked together, as Lyngby is the club from which the Union bought midfielder Sanders Ngabo. Ngabo has not played for the Union’s first team yet but has been on the bench six times. He has played eight times for the Union’s reserve squad.

» READ MORE: Julián Carranza’s departure from the Union to Europe draws nearer, and it has to

Last month, Bloomberg reported that the Union were looking at investing in Denmark’s Aalborg. It ended up being a different team in the same country.

This is far from the first multiclub partnership in MLS. New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls are the most famous, being owned by global conglomerates — City Football Group (topped by England’s Manchester City) in the first case, and Red Bull Global (Germany’s RB Leipzig) in the second.

But there are lower-profile arrangements too. Los Angeles FC has stakes in Austria’s Wacker and Switzerland’s Grasshopper. 76ers part-owner David Blitzer has pieces of MLS’s Real Salt Lake, England’s Crystal Palace, and Germany’s Augsburg. Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke owns England’s Arsenal, as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Denver’s Nuggets (NBA) and Avalanche (NHL).

There’s even a multiclub empire in women’s soccer: Washington Spirit owner Y. Michele Kang also is in charge of French superpower Lyon and England’s London City Lionesses.

The Union’s announcement called the investment “a minority, non-controlling ownership stake in Lyngby,” and said “Lyngby’s current ownership will continue to operate the club and make decisions independently.”

» READ MORE: What are the Union’s ambitions? Owner Jay Sugarman opens up about how he sees them.

Lyngby’s announcement said the team had been looking for outside investment for some time. That hasn’t gone over well with some of its fans, just as multiclub groups have drawn criticism across Europe.

“We are well aware that there is — especially in these years — great skepticism towards foreign acquisitions of Danish football clubs,” the team said in a statement. “With Philadelphia Union, we have got exactly the model where Friends of Lyngby continues to sit at the end of the table as the majority owner, but where the club gets an international boost in the sporting area and at the same time gets a co-investor.”

» READ MORE: Union owner Jay Sugarman believes Cavan Sullivan can be a long-sought homegrown breakout star

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