March 8 – Silvio Berlusconi has said that he would “not hesitate” to keep AC Milan if Chinese buyers Sino-Europe Sports failed to complete on the acquisition. But if you had already accepted a €200 million non-refundable deposit you would likely say the same.
Last Friday a deadline to pay the remaining €320 million on the €720 million deal passed – the Chinese are also absorbing $200 million of club debt. The Chinese were expected to offer another deposit payment of $100 million but there has been no news from the club on the deal status.
For his part Berlusconi appears prepared to wait and trusts the Chinese to get the money together.
“They have asked us for a brief extension and I don’t see any cause for concern right now. We’re talking about a financial transaction which is not only of a significant value, but also complex in view of the laws in China,” he told Il Tiempo.
“Besides this, the investors have already paid substantial deposits and I can see the seriousness in their intentions. This is important not only for the Fininvest group, but above all for Milan fans. I said from day one that I would only pass the club into good hands.”
Berlusconi has said before that he has no issue keeping keep hold of the club.
“For me, having to give up Milan is painful. Buying them, making them grow, guiding them to all the trophies in the world – this was not just an investment but an act of love.
“The fans don’t need to worry. If the conditions are not net, I would not hesitate to take back control, but objectively I cannot see any reason why this should happen.”
Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing (SES), is led by Haixa Capital and entrepreneur Yonghong Li, but has had trouble getting the required authorisation from government in Beijing to complete the deal.
It will be the most expensive football club acquisition by Chinese investors in Europe to date. The Chinese buyers have twice put down non-refundable deposits of €100 million with deadlines for deal closure pushed out last December 2016 to February 2017.
The new owners are also expected to make a further €100 million available for strengthening the team.
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