August 8 – After 30 years in charge, Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to sell Serie A giant AC Milan to a group of Chinese investors for €740 million, a price that includes about €220 million of debt.
The media entrepreneur turned politician and ultimately Italian president had held on to his football club through various personal scandals and tax inspections in Italy. His decision to sell, after a period of exclusive negotiation that concluded with a “preliminary contract”, will see the Chinese take a 99.93% stake in the club.
The Chinese investors, operating through China’s state-owned Development & Investment Corp, includes Haixia Capital and Yonghong Li. Sonny Wu’s GSR Capital is understood to have led the negotiation with Fininvest, Berluconi’s main holding company.
The deal will see the investors provide a further €350 million to the club over the next three years as it attempts to repeat its successful years under Berlusconi that saw it win eight Serie A league titles and five European Cups.
Both Milan clubs are now under Chinese ownership with Suning Commerce Group Co acquiring 69% of inter Milan in June for €280 million as part of an overall €750 million deal.
The Milan clubs have a strong following in China with AC Milan boasting a global following of 380 million. The club is reckoned to be the 14th wealthiest in Europe according to Deloitte’s rankings.
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