May 28 – New York Cosmos owner and billionaire businessman Rocco B. Commisso is poised to complete a takeover of Serie A club Fiorentina according to media reports.
The Florence-based club have scheduled a board meeting this Friday when Commisso’s reported $150 million takeover is expected to be made official. A statement on Fiorentina’s official website read: “Fiorentina announce that a meeting of the Board of Directors has been set for Friday May 31.” At the weekend Fiorentina narrowly avoided relegation after a goalless draw with Genoa to finish 16th in the Serie A table.
Last year Fiorentina owners and shoemaking giants Diego and Andrea Della Valle put the club up for sale. They acquired the club in 2002 when Fiorentina were bankrupt and were relegated to play in the fourth tier of Italian football.
If Commisso’s ownership of the club is confirmed, he would become the latest American owner in Italy. Elliott Management hedge fund owns AC Milan, James Pallotta bankrolls AS Roma and North American-linked ownership groups also have stakes in Bologna and in Serie B’s Venezia.
Commisso is the founder of cable company Mediacom and took over the New York Cosmos in January 2017 when the New York club’s players and staff had not been paid for several months. The move saved the legendary club and the struggling North American Soccer League (NASL) from bankruptcy, but the NASL folded a year later and since then the Cosmos have been without a league to play in. Commisso filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer, accusing the ruling body of anticompetitive practices that would favor Major League Soccer.
In 2013 the Cosmos had relaunched in 2013 under CEO Seamus O’Brien and won titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. O’Brien and his ownership group, however, reduced their role to minority partners and effectively exited the club when Commisso took over.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1566638189labto1566638189ofdlr1566638189owedi1566638189sni@o1566638189fni1566638189