Oaktree poised to take control of Inter Milan as loan repayment deadline looms today

May 21 – Serie A champions Inter Milan could have a forced changed of ownership at the end of today if the club fails to repay a €270 million loan, plus interest, that was granted in 2021.

The loan was made by the US Oaktree investment fund for €275 million in 2021 with interest running at 12% per year. In total the Chinese owners, Suning Holdings Group, owe about €370 million.

Chairman Steven Zhang (pictured) has been trying to refinance the debt via American fund Pimco but in an open letter to fans says that Oaktree has been deliberately un-cooperative, blaming them for delay in achieving the refinancing by the debt repayment deadline.

“In the months leading up to the expiration date of the financing facility with Oaktree, we have done everything possible to find an amicable solution with our partner, including offering multiple opportunities for Oaktree to obtain a full and immediate financial return,” said Zhang.

“Unfortunately, our efforts so far have been exacerbated by legal threats and a lack of meaningful involvement from Oaktree. This has all been very frustrating and disappointing, but this behavior is now creating a risky situation for the club that could put its stability in serious danger,” concluded the president of Inter.

Suning took over the club in 2016 and won the first Serie A title under their ownership in the 2020-21 season, and the club’s 20th title this season. Last year Inter were runners-up in the Champions League.

Zhang says that while the club has focussed on on-field performance he and his team have maintained a “rigorous financial discipline”.

If Oaktreel take control of the club the likelihood is that they will sell it immediately and at a significant premium to the loan. Some rumours suggest the California-based fund already has a buyer in the wings.

In 2021 Suning disbanded Chinese Super League reigning champions Jiangsu FC just three months after winning their first title. At the time Suning said that it hoped that a new backer could be found for the Nanjing-based club that had about $90 million of debt.

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