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US investment fund RedBird completes 1.2 billion euro AC Milan takeover

AC Milan said Wednesday that investment fund RedBird had completed the acquisition of the Italian champions from rival US group Elliott Management for 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion). Serie A outfit Milan said in their statement that Major League Baseball giants the New York Yankees will also have a "minority equity stake" in Milan, who…

AC Milan’s Italian defender Alessio Romagnoli (C-L), AC Milan’s French forward Olivier Giroud (Bottom R) and AC Milan’s players celebrate with the winner’s trophy after AC Milan won the Italian Serie A football match between Sassuolo and AC Milan, securing the “Scudetto” championship on May 22, 2022 at the Mapei – Citta del Tricolore stadium in Sassuolo. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

AC Milan said Wednesday that investment fund RedBird had completed the acquisition of the Italian champions from rival US group Elliott Management for 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

Serie A outfit Milan said in their statement that Major League Baseball giants the New York Yankees will also have a “minority equity stake” in Milan, who won their first league title in 11 years last season, through their owners Yankee Global Enterprises.

“We will support our talented players, coaches and staff to deliver success on the pitch,” said RedBird’s founder Gerry Cardinale in the statement.

“We will look to leverage our global sports and media network, our analytics expertise, our track record in sports stadium developments and hospitality to deliver one goal — maintaining Milan’s place at the summit of European and world football.”

Redbird’s purchase of Milan comes after they bought a minority stake last year in Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool and MLB team Boston Red Sox, and a majority stake in French Ligue 1 club Toulouse in 2020.

A source told AFP that RedBird have acquired over 99.9 percent of the club’s shares while Elliott will have two places on the club’s board even though they no longer retain any shares in Milan.

AFP were also told that Elliott’s “minority financial interest” in Milan announced in June comes in the form of a vendor loan to help finance the acquisition, while the Yankees will have an “insignificant” stake in Milan.

Elliott acquired Milan in 2018 when Chinese businessman Li Yonghong was unable to repay a loan he had taken out when he bought the club from Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest in 2017.

Italy’s former prime minister Berlusconi had owned the club since 1986 and in the intervening three decades had made Milan a global football powerhouse, crowned European champions five times between 1989 and 2007.

Milan had been dogged by financial problems and sub-standard performances on the pitch after winning the league in 2011, a second-place finish in 2021 announcing their return as a challenger for trophies.

They declared losses for that season of 96 million euros, down from a deficit of 195 million euros in 2020. Accounts for last season are yet to be published.

The takeover comes in a crucial period for Milan, who along with their local rivals Inter are hoping to build a new stadium on the site of their iconic San Siro home.

However the project hangs in the balance as the city of Milan needs to hold a public debate this autumn to convince residents of the project’s merits.

A source told AFP in July that if the debate doesn’t go in the two clubs’ favour they will shift the stadium project to a former industrial site in Sesto San Giovanni, a town just north of Milan.

The current ground is supposed to stay in place until at least 2026, as it will host the opening ceremony of that year’s Winter Olympics.

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