February 12 – Robert Platek and his family have become the latest Americans to take ownership of an Italian club, having completed the takeover of Serie A’s Spezia.
Gabriele Volpi, chairman of Orlean Invest Holdings who owned the club, sold Spezia to the New York family after prolonged talks.
“Serie A football is in an elite class of its own, and it has been our long-held ambition to find the right opportunity to partner with a special Club in Italy,” said the Platek family in a statement. “From the time of our initial conversations, we have been extremely aligned with the mission, ethos, and ethic of Spezia Calcio.”
Spezia had been looking for new owners who could progress the club as it establishes itself in the top tier of Italian football.
“We provided the Club and the city with all the support we could give. We are very pleased now that the new investors, The Platek Family, can continue our efforts and enhance the mission of the Club. Thanks to their experience in the sector, we have no doubt they will realize synergies in the attractive and complex world of soccer,” said Volpi.
The Piatek family also said that the current club management – Spezia president Stefano Chisoli, sporting director Mauro Meluso, and manager Vincenzo Italiano – will be retained. Robert Platek Junior has been made vice president.
A quarter of all Serie A clubs are now under US ownership, with Fiorentina, AS Roma, Parma and Milan in American hands as well. In total, 11 professional football clubs in Italy are now controlled by foreign investors.
The Plateks also own Danish Superliga side SønderjyskE Fodbold who they bought last year, and have a stake in second tier Portuguese club Casa Pia.
No value was given for the acquisition. It had been rumoured that MSD Capital, Michael Dell’s personal hedge fund, was lined up as a buyer but the club said MSD has no involvement. MSD Capital has been providing loans at steep interest rates to cash-strapped clubs.
“There is no shareholding of MSD Capital, but only a personal investment of the Platek family,” the club said.
Spezia sit in 16th position in Serie A, one point above the relegation zone in their first-ever season in the division.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1614383207labto1614383207ofdlr1614383207owedi1614383207sni@o1614383207fni1614383207