US investment firm RedBird Capital Partners has agreed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) deal to buy Italian soccer champions AC Milan and aims to challenge the elite again of European football.
Under the terms of the deal, current owners Elliott, the US private equity group, will retain a minority investment and board seats, the club announced on Wednesday.
Milan have just won the Italian Serie A title for the first time in 11 years.
“We… are delighted to play a part in the club’s next chapter as it regains its rightful place at the top of Italian, European and global football,” RedBird founder and managing partner Gerry Cardinale said in a statement. .
RedBird is already an investor in Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox baseball team. RedBird also owns a majority stake in French football club Toulouse.
“RedBird’s investment philosophy and track record in team ownership has shown that football clubs can be successful on the pitch and sustainable off it,” Cardinale added.
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Italian football clubs have recently become a popular target for foreign investors, attracted by cheaper valuations compared to those of the English Premier League and rivals in major European leagues.
Milan were a dominant force in European football under the former owner of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, but last won the Champions League in 2007.
The transition to new ownership will take place over the summer, with the deal expected to close no later than September, the club’s statement added.
Seven-time European Cup winners Milan will look to strengthen their ranks in the tight season to help defend their Italian league title and meet a Champions League challenge.
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Elliott took over the club in 2018 when Chinese businessman Li Yonghong failed to meet certain obligations related to a financial package to buy the team from Berlusconi the previous year.
Elliott said his continued involvement reflected his confidence in RedBird and added that the club’s management would remain in place.
Former Arsenal executive Ivan Gazidis is the club’s CEO while former player Paolo Maldini is technical director.
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