AC Milan has been sold for €740m to a Chinese-led consortium in what marks the biggest-ever Far East investment in a European club.
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi finalised his troubled sale of the club on Thursday, which his family holding Fininvest held a 99.93 per cent stake in, to Luxembourg-based Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux, the company that replaced the original Chinese bid vehicle.
The deal follows retail giant Suning Commerce Group’s purchase of crosstown rival Internazionale FC last year and further tightens China’s grip on the game in Italy.
A Chinese firm also underwrites the media rights to the top league, Serie A.
Berlusconi announced plans to sell the club last year and has since been working to secure a deal.
“Milan now has chosen this path toward China,” Berlusconi told La Gazzetta dello Sport’s website last year.
“It’s an important decision to give AC Milan to someone able to make it be a protagonist in Italy, Europe and globally. I didn’t discuss price, I’ve accepted what they offered me.”
Supporters of the famous club will hope Berlusconi stays true to an earlier remark he made, stating that a condition of the sale was the new owners invest at least €400 million (£343 million) in the club over the next two seasons.
Milan have struggled in recent seasons and their team, who are not playing in European competition this season because of an underwhelming 7th place Serie A finish last year, are a shadow of the glamorous squad that last won the Champions League in 2007.
The club failed to replace departing world-class stars such as Andriy Shevchenko, Gennaro Gattuso and Alessandro Nesta and have struggled to compete in the transfer market.
More to follow.