Former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, owner of AC Milan football club spoke to local newspapers on Tuesday, confirming reports that he was indeed selling the Serie A team.
Berlusconi Sells AC Milan to Chinese Investor Group
In his statement, he said the Chinese company would be paying up to £220m in a period of two years, a buyout that may place the club’s value at an estimated €750m, which is inclusive of debt.
Without revealing the identity of the investors, he said, ‘Milan has now begun its journey towards China.”
However, according to some media outlets, the terms of the buyout deal are still being ironed out.
Fininvest, his family’s group of companies, is reportedly at the center of the private talks with the Chinese.
Following his four-time stunt as prime minister, the 79-year-old Berlusconi was convicted of bribery and tax fraud.
The investors are keen on buying 80% of the club upfront and gradually gaining complete ownership of the remaining share.
The buyout deal could probably result to AC Milan being listed in China, going by reports from Reuters.
Expanding into Asia
AC Milan is one of the most successful football clubs in Europe. However, it faces stiff competition from rivals that are well funded. As a result, the club is looking for additional funding, more so after its $104 million loss last year.
Last year, Berlusconi was in talks to sell the club to a Thai investor but he reconsidered the offer.
Today, investors from Middle East and Asia are the primary financiers of many European football clubs.
Last month only, Inter Milan, a local AC Milan rival was sold to Suning Commerce Group a China-based electronics retailer.
At the same time Dr. Tony Xia, a Chinese investor bought out Aston Villa in a £76m takeover last month.
Football is increasingly popular in China with the government keen on investing in the sport with the goal of gaining world dominance.