A group of Chinese investors is one step closer to completing its takeover of AC Milan after club president and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi approved the preliminary contract concerning their purchase of the club.
The CEO of Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest, Danilo Pellegrino, and Han Li — representative of the group of investors — signed a contract that would see the incumbent owner's 99.93 percent stake sold.
Berlusconi, the former playboy prime minister of Italy who became infamous for his so-called bunga bunga sex parties, has been in charge at Milan since acquiring the San Siro side in 1986.
Both parties aim to complete the takeover by the end of the calendar year as they await the green light from Italian and Chinese authorities.
"Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, chairman of AC Milan, has approved the preliminary contract signed by Mr. Danilo Pellegrino, CEO of Fininvest, and Mr Han Li, representative of a group of Chinese investors, concerning the purchase of the entire stake owned by Fininvest in AC Milan equal to 99.93 percent," an official Fininvest statement reads.
"The binding contract between the parties will be completed by the end of 2016, subject to the obtaining of applicable authorizations from the Italian and Chinese authorities. The agreement values AC Milan at $818 million with an estimated indebtedness of approximately $243 million.
"The agreement requires the acquirers to undertake significant capital increases and liquidity injections aimed at strengthening AC Milan's financial structure, for a total amount of €350m ($387 million) over a three-year period. … During the entire negotiation process, the signature of the contract and the undertakings assumed thereby, Fininvest has always had as a priority the objective which was clearly stated by Mr. Berlusconi: to provide AC Milan, through an appropriate ownership structure, with greater financial resources now more essential for competing with the top football clubs of the world."
Milan won eight Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five European Cups two Intercontinental Cups and the Club World Cup during Berlusconi's rein.