ACMi­lan buy­ers given 3-month de­lay

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS - By BLOOMBERG

For­mer Ital­ian pre­mier Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni granted a three-month de­lay to the Chi­nese in­vest­ment group seek­ing to buy hisACMi­lan soc­cer team, af­ter the buy­ers failed to get au­tho­riza­tion for the deal from lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

Ad­vis­ers to Ber­lus­coni’s Fin­in­vest SpA hold­ing com­pany and the Chi­nese group, Sino-Europe Sports In­vest­ment, agreed to de­lay the clos­ing un­til as late as the end of Fe­bru­ary in ex­change of an ad­di­tional, non-re­fund­able de­posit of 100 mil­lion eu­ros ($107 mil­lion), the peo­ple said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the talks are pri­vate. The de­posit will have to be paid by Dec 13, the orig­i­nal clos­ing date, oth­er­wise the deal falls apart, the peo­ple said.

The de­lay marks a new twist in an odyssey that started in Au­gust, when Fin­in­vest agreed to sell AC Mi­lan to a lit­tle-known group ofChi­nese in­vestors for 740 mil­lion eu­ros in­clud­ing debt.

The group, which made an ini­tial de­posit of 100 mil­lion eu­ros, didn’t have all the fi­nanc­ing in place when it agreed to pur­chase the Ital­ian club, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said in Septem­ber. The group led by Chi­nese busi­ness­man Li Yonghong hasn’t re­vealed its full list of in­vestors.

The pur­chase agree­ment in­cludes a re­quire­ment to pro­vide 350 mil­lion eu­ros of added fund­ing to AC Mi­lan over a three-year pe­riod. Li’s group al­legedly pro­vided a false bank re­port dur­ing its ini­tial deal ne­go­ti­a­tions. A spokesman for Sino-Europe said Sept 23 that spec­u­la­tion about fake doc­u­ments is “ground­less” and that the group was con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion.

Sino-Europe would con­sider build­ing a new sta­dium as part of its ex­pan­sion plans. The con­sor­tium has been telling po­ten­tial part­ners they could earn out­sized re­turns if ACMi­lan even­tu­ally lists on a Chi­nese stock ex­change, where com­pa­nies trade at a premium to Western mar­kets.


Chi­nese fans of the AC Mi­lan soc­cer team sing dur­ing a friendly match in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince.

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