AC Milan deal stalled again as Chinese offer a third £100m deposit to Berlusconi

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March 2 – The closing of the sale of AC Milan to a Chinese investment group rescheduled for March 3, now looks set to be extended further with club owner Silvio Berlusconi reportedly considering accepting a third, non-refundable, €100 million deposit on the deal.

The sale to investment vehicle Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing (SES), which is led by Haixa Capital and entrepreneur Yonghong Li, will be for a €740 million figure making it the most expensive Chinese football club acquisition in Europe to date.

That figure includes assuming €220 million of debt. If Berlusconi accepts a third €100 million deposit he will have taken more than half the agreed cash fee of the club leaving the Chinese with €220 million to close the deal. The Chinese are also expected to make another €100 million is cash available to the club on completion of the deal.

Sale talks have been on-going since the beginning of 2016 but faltered as the Chinese were delayed in getting authorisation for the acquisition from Beijing. Chinese authorities blocked the investment group transferring funds from mainland China with reports blaming the delayed transfer partly because the Chinese embassy in Rome disapproved of the warm welcome to Milan for the Dalai Lama in October.

Bloomberg reports that the Chinese investors had to draw on accounts based in the British Virgin Islands to make their second €100 million deposit last December. Berlusconi could walk away from the deal and hold on to the €200 million he has already received – he has previously indicated that he would not be upset to retain control of the club and that he would rebuild it around young Italian players.

An AC Milan shareholder meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.

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