the american background red bird completed the acquisition of AC Milan for 1,200 million euros (1,203 million dollars), announced this Wednesday the Italian club, owned since 2018 by Elliott Management, another American fund. “RedBird Capital Partners announced today that it has completed the acquisition of Associazione Calcio Milan for €1.2 billion,” said the seven-time European soccer champions, who were crowned Italian champions for the 19th time in May.
The New York Yankees baseball club, which Redbird already owns, will have a minority stake, the statement said. “We will support our talented players, coaches and coaching staff to succeed on the pitch,” said Redbird founder, Gerry Cardinalwho wants to “keep Milan at the top of European and world football”.
The sale of this emblematic ‘Calcio’ club, which for a long time was owned by the businessman and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (1986-2017), had been agreed with Elliot Management on June 1.
Redbird is present in the North American sports world but is also active in Europe, through a minority stake in English Liverpool and with control since 2020 of Toulouse FC, a club recently promoted to French Ligue 1. He is also associated with a Californian fund, Main Street Advisors, run by businessman Paul Wachterand counts among his own associates the NBA star Lebron Jamesthe music producer Jimmy Iovine or the rapper Drake.
This operation confirms the attractiveness of Italian football in the eyes of North American investors: more than a third of the Serie A clubs were American or Canadian-owned last season (AS Roma, Bologna, Fiorentina, Unione Venezia, La Spezia, Genoa and partly Atalanta).
After an inglorious decade, AC Milan have regained their shine in the last two years, something that confirms his May ‘Scudetto’, the first achieved by the club since 2011. At that time, Silvio Berlusconi was still the owner. Berlusconi had bought the club in 1986, before guiding it to the top of Europe with good play and big stars (Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Paolo Maldini, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Andrei Shevchenko…). The former prime minister separated from the entity in 2017, at a time marked by economic and sporting problems.
Elliott Management took over the club a year later, as the lender of the Chinese buyer, the Chinese businessman Li Yong-hong, unable to repay a loan. The fund opted for young players with great potential and entrusted the sports policy to the legendary Paolo Maldini, avoiding wage madness. The only great star of the current squad is the already veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovicwho acts almost as a ‘tutor’ of the new generation.
The formula has worked: AC Milan once again seduces with its football and the accounts seem to be going well. Losses have fallen below 100 million euros in 2020-2021 (96 million euros), for the first time since 2017, after having reached a peak in 2020 (195 million euros). In addition to revitalizing the ‘AC Milan brand’, the operation is also supported by the project for a new stadium promoted by the club and its rival Inter. The new venue would succeed the venerable San Siro from 2026, although the matter still generates debate in the Lombard capital.
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