After many twists and turns along the way, Silvio Berlusconi has finally agreed to sell of a majority share in AC Milan to a Chinese consortium.
That Berlusconi sold Milan was not a surprise, Milan has been on the market for months now. What is a surprise is that Berlusconi has sold 99.93% of the club to a Chinese consortium not linked to expected investors Nicholas Gancikoff and Sal Galatioto, but to a new group managed by Li Yonghong, in a deal worth €740 million.
That figure includes the reported €220m worth of debt accrued under the Berlusconi regime, and features a commitment from the buyers to invest €350m into the club within the next three years in an attempt to return the fallen giants to the top of Italian football.
It is unknown yet whether money will become dispensable for the Rossoneri before the transfer window closes, however the timing of the sale makes it unlikely.
“Mr Silvio Berlusconi, president of AC Milan, has approved the preliminary contract signed by Mr Danilo Pellegrino, chief executive of Fininvest, and Mr. Han Li, representative of a group of Chinese investors, concerning the purchase of the entire stake owned by Fininvest in AC Milan equal to 99.93 percent,” read a Fininvest statement.
“The agreement values AC Milan at €740m with an estimated indebtedness of approximately €220m. The agreement requires the acquirers to undertake significant capital increases and liquidity injections aimed at strengthening AC Milan’s financial structure, for a total amount of €350m over a three-year period (€100m is to be paid in at the closing).
“The agreement also requires the acquirers to make a €100m deposit, confirming the commitments assumed, of which €15m is payable upon signing and €85m within 35 days of signing.
“During the entire negotiation process, the signature of the contract and the undertakings assumed thereby, Fininvest has always had as a priority the objective which was clearly stated by Mr Berlusconi: to provide AC Milan, through an appropriate ownership structure, with greater financial resources now more essential for competing with the top football clubs of the world.”
Chinese investors have been snapping up soccer teams recently and just last month, Chinese company Suning purchased a majority stake in AC Milan’s rival, Inter Milan.