Ber­lus­coni gives ‘ex­tra-time’ to slug­gish Chi­nese in­vestors

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AC Mi­lan owner and pres­i­dent Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni has backed giv­ing the Chi­nese Si­noEurope Sports con­sor­tium “ex­tra time” to com­plete the pur­chase of the Serie A gi­ants fol­low­ing the lat­est de­lay in the takeover.

“They asked for some ex­tra time and I don’t see what there is to worry about,” Ber­lus­coni told Il

Tempo news­pa­per in an in­ter­view. A bid by SES, who have made a down pay­ment of €200m (RM946 mil­lion) on a deal that val­ues the Serie A gi­ants at €740 mil­lion, ap­peared to hit the rocks Fri­day af­ter they failed to com­plete the takeover by the agreed March 3 dead­line.

SES later claimed “cir­cum­stances be­yond its con­trol” had led to the lat­est de­lay to a deal that will see the seven-time Euro­pean cham­pi­ons fol­low city ri­vals In­ter Mi­lan into Chi­nese own­er­ship.

De­spite reports sug­gest­ing an irate Ber­lus­coni could pull out, the for­mer Ital­ian prime min­is­ter added: “The in­vestors have made con­sid­er­able pay­ments as a demon­stra­tion of their in­ten­tions. This is very im­por­tant, not just for Fin­in­vest, but also the fans of AC Mi­lan.”

Fin­in­vest is Ber­lus­coni’s hold­ing com­pany, and early Fri­day morn­ing they re­leased a state­ment clearly call­ing for SES to get their house in or­der.

Con­firm­ing the sale had been post­poned, Fin­in­vest said in a state­ment it “wel­comes the op­por­tu­nity to en­ter into an agree­ment with Sino-Sports Europe that will lead to the sale of Mi­lan as soon as pos­si­ble.”

It was read out by club CEO Adri­ano Gal­liani to in­creas­ingly an­gry share­hold­ers on Fri­day morn­ing.

A hastily-re­leased state­ment by SES on Fri­day evening said: “While ex­press­ing its dis­ap­point­ment at the de­lay in com­plet­ing the deal, due to cir­cum­stances out­with its con­trol, SES con­firms it is strongly com­mit­ted to con­tinue work­ing with Fin­in­vest to com­plete the deal as soon as pos­si­ble, and that a de­tailed in­vest­ment plan is ready.”

Reports claim the deal is now sched­uled to go through at the start of April.

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