AC Milan Gets New Owners, Hopes To Stabilize Finances

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CEM REPORT | Redbird Capital Partners has acquired Italian football club Associazione Calcio Milan (AC Milan) in a takeover worth €1.2 billion.

Redbird Capital Partners announced after entering into a ‘definite agreement’ with rival US group Elliott Management to acquire the Italian football club back in June.

Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Founder and Managing Partner speaking on the acquisition said;

“Our vision for Milan is clear: we will support our talented players, coaches and staff to deliver success on the pitch and allow our fans to share in the extraordinary experiences of this historic club.

“We will look to leverage our global sports and media network, our analytics expertise, our track record in sports stadium developments and hospitality to deliver one goal – maintaining Milan’s place at the summit of European and world football,”

On the partnership with YGE, Cardinale said:

“We have a multi-decade relationship with the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family that has resulted in the creation of some of the most successful businesses in sports, entertainment and hospitality.

“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with them and will look to explore opportunities together to broaden our fan reach and expand commercial opportunities that are only available to franchises that operate at the highest levels of sports globally.”

Although, Elliott Advisors UK Limited is expected to keep a stake in the Italian football club before the announcement made by the Italian club in June.

A source told AFP that RedBird has acquired over 99.9 percent of the club’s shares while Elliott will have two places on the club’s board even though they no longer retain any shares in Milan.

AFP was also told that Elliott’s “minority financial interest” in Milan announced in June comes in the form of a vendor loan to help finance the acquisition, while the Yankees will have an “insignificant” stake in Milan.

The acquisition comes behind Redbird’s purchase of a minority stake last year in Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool and MLB team Boston Red Sox, and a majority stake in French Ligue 1 club Toulouse in 2020.

It also adds to their portfolio of other global sports and entertainment investments that which includes the Rajasthan Royals, the YES Network, the SpringHill Company, Skydance Media, the XFL, OneTeam Partners and Dream Sports.

The Yankee Global Enterprise (YGE) is the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team which comprises the Steinbrenner family, and Main Street Advisors, the LA-based fund that counts among its investors, basketball star LeBron James, famed music producer Jimmy Iovine and rapper Drake, who will all become shareholders in the Serie A team.

For one hundred and twenty-three years AC Milan has been synonymous with championship-level football. Since its founding in 1899, AC Milan has won 19 Serie A Championships, 7 Champions Leagues/European Cups, 7 Supercoppa, 5 Coppa Italias, 5 European Super Cups, 3 Intercontinental Cups, 2 European Cup Winners’ Cups, and 1 FIFA Club World Cup.’

Elliott acquired Milan in 2018 when Chinese businessman Li Yonghong was unable to repay a loan he had taken out when he bought the club from Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest in 2017.

The takeover comes in a crucial period for Milan, who along with their local rivals Inter are hoping to build a new stadium on the site of their iconic San Siro home.

However, the project hangs in the balance as the city of Milan needs to hold a public debate this autumn to convince residents of the project’s merits.

A source told AFP in July that if the debate doesn’t go in the two clubs’ favour they will shift the stadium project to a former industrial site in Sesto San Giovanni, a town just north of Milan.

The current ground is supposed to stay in place until at least 2026, as it will host the opening ceremony of that year’s Winter Olympics.

Milan had been dogged by financial problems and sub-standard performances on the pitch after winning the league in 2011, a second-place finish in 2021 announcing their return as a challenger for trophies.

They declared losses for that season of 96 million euros, down from a deficit of 195 million euros in 2020. Accounts for last season are yet to be published.

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