Chinese investor completes AC Milan purchase

AC Milan will now be a Chinese property, owned by businessman Yonghong Li. Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux is the vehicle through which the Sino-Europe Sports group, fronted by Chinese businessman Li has conducted the purchase

Fininvest, the holding company owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, has released a statement confirming the completion of the long-gestating sale of a 99.93 per cent stake in the Serie A side to Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux. The closing of the deal is described as the final step in completing a purchase agreement first signed in August 2016 and renewed last month.

The terms of the takeover give the club an aggregate evaluation of €740 million (Rs 5,065 crore), including €220 million (Rs 1,505 crore) in debt as of 30th June 2016 and €90 million (Rs 616 crore) which the new owners will pay to Fininvest to cover running costs from 1st July 2016.

The new club owners are targeting a Champions League return next season. New AC Milan chief executive Marco Fassone has promised fans a “quick return” to the Champions League and the glory days of old as the fallen Serie A giants began life under Chinese ownership on Friday.

“We are AC Milan. We can’t afford to sit back and say, let’s see what happens,” Fassone told media at the club’s ‘Casa Milan’ Friday as he laid out firm objectives a day after the club’s takeover.

Rossoneri Sport has also committed to an injection of funds aimed at ‘strengthening AC Milan’s financial structure’.

A shareholders’ meeting will be convened on Friday 14th April to confirm the new managerial structure for the club.

Plans for the deal have stalled several times in the last year as the new owners have sourced funding. After an initial €250 million (Rs 1,711 crore) deposit the American fund Elliott Sports Group provided a €180 million (Rs 1,232 crore) loan, which must be paid within 18 months.

The agreement marks the end of Berlusconi’s 31-year tenure as AC Milan owner, in which time the club have won 31 trophies, including five European titles.

AC Milan are currently sixth in Italy’s top flight.

The other Milan Serie A club – Inter was also the subject of a Chinese takeover last summer. Inter was acquired by the Chinese Sunning Group for a deal reported to be worth €270 million (Rs 1,848 crore).