Italian football giants AC Milan prepare to sell 99 percent shares to Chinese investors
The buyers will invest 350 million euros over three seasons into the once mighty club, who struggled to a seventh-placed finish in Serie A last season.
New Delhi: Silvio Berlusconi agreed on Friday to sell more than 99 percent of AC Milan to a group of Chinese investors, announced Fininvest, the holding company of the Berlusconi family.
A preliminary agreement after months of negotiations sets the value of the Italian giants at 740 million euros ($825.4m), with a further 220 million euros debt.
Chinese and Italian authorites must now rubberstamp the deal scheduled for completion before the end of 2016.
The deal was signed by Danilo Pellegrino, the Fininvest CEO, and Han Li, a representative of the Chinese investors.
"Throughout the negotiations Fininvest has maintained its position established by Mr Berlusconi to provide AC Milan with a structure from which it can compete with the world`s top clubs," Pellegrino said.
The group has been named as Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing, and includes businesman Yonghong Li, the Haixia Capital Capital group and other private and public Chinese companies.
The buyers paid 15 million euros immediately and are due to pay a further 85 million euros within 35 days.
The buyers will invest 350 million euros over three seasons into the once mighty club, who struggled to a seventh-placed finish in Serie A last season, and who lifted their seventh European crown in 2007.
The deal follows hot on the heels of Milan`s city rivals Inter Milan being bought out by the Chinese investment group Suning in June.
Earlier on Friday, owners of Premier League club West Bromwich Albion agreed to sell the club to Chinese investment group Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Ltd.
The deal is the latest in a series of inroads made by China in English football.
Second-tier clubs Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers -- both of whom play in the same Midlands region as West Brom -- were taken over by Chinese investors in recent weeks.