Serie A champion AC Milan is on the verge of being sold to American investment firm RedBird Capital Partners for 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) after the two parties signed a preliminary agreement.
Milan said Wednesday that RedBird is expected to complete the purchase of the storied Italian club from fellow American firm Elliott Management by September, becoming the fourth owner of the team in five years.
“We are honored to be a part of AC Milan’s illustrious history and are excited to play a role in the club’s next chapter as it returns to its rightful place at the very top of Italian, European and world football,” RedBird founder and managing partner Gerry Cardinale said.
Seven-time European champion Milan clinched its 19th Serie A title but its first in 11 years last month. The Rossoneri last won the Champions League in 2007.
RedBird has a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns English Premier League club Liverpool.
U.S.-based hedge firm Elliott had owned Milan since 2018 after the club’s former Chinese owner failed to repay part of a loan. Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi controlled Milan for more than 30 years before selling to the Chinese group in 2017.
Milan had finished sixth a couple of months before Elliott took over. It was also embroiled in a case with UEFA over financial fair play breaches that later saw it voluntarily withdraw from the 2019-2020 Europa League to avoid penalties.
“When Elliott acquired AC Milan in 2018, we inherited a club with a tremendous history, but with serious financial problems and a mediocre sporting performance,” Elliott managing partner Gordon Singer said. “Our plan was simple: to create financial stability, and to return AC Milan to where it belongs in European football. Today, I believe we have accomplished both.
“As we make this remarkable transition to AC Milan’s next chapter, I want to express our deepest sense of humility, pride and above all gratitude for the experiences we have shared with each member of the AC Milan family.”
Elliott, which will retain a minority stake in the club, had seemed set to sell Milan to a private equity firm based in Bahrain but the exclusive negotiations were ended recently after it failed to come to a commercial agreement with Investcorp.
That paved the way for RedBird to enter and Cardinale was pictured celebrating Milan’s title triumph in front of the city’s iconic cathedral in Piazza Duomo with thousands of fans,
“I want to thank Gordon Singer and the entire Elliott team for the tremendous work they have done over the last four years in rebuilding Milan and returning it to its rightful place at the top of Serie A,” Cardinale said.
“RedBird’s investment philosophy and track record in team ownership has shown that football clubs can be successful on the pitch and sustainable off it.”