SBD/August 3, 2012/Franchises

Chinese Investors Will Become The Second-Biggest Shareholder Of Inter Milan

Chinese investors become second-largest shareholder of Serie A club Inter Milan
A group of Chinese investors is set to become Serie A club Inter Milan’s "second-biggest shareholder following the Italian football club’s agreement to sell a block of shares in line with its attempt to raise its profile among Asian fans of the sport," according to Coleman, Hille & Sylvers of the FINANCIAL TIMES. One of the investors, a company controlled by China Railway Construction, will also “develop a new football stadium" with the football club's parent company. The stadium is set to be completed in '17. The club announced it would "add three new directors" as a result of the investment: Kamchi Li, Kenneth Huang and Fabrizio Rindi. The Moratti family "will retain control of the club." While terms of the deal "were not disclosed," Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera revealed that the new investors would pay US$85.3M for a 15% stake, which would value the club at US$568.8M. Four Partners Advisory SIM, Lazard & Co and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised Inter Milan on the sale. China Railway and the investment group “were advised by UBS, Gallipos and Studio Legale Associato Negri-Clementi” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/3).

ASIAN SWING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Isabella Steger notes the “move is the latest by well-funded Asian investors into Europe's soccer leagues.” Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung bought English soccer club Birmingham City in ‘09, while AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes bought EPL club Queens Park Rangers last year. It also marks China's “latest step to win construction projects in the West, broadening from the country's sizable role in big-ticket projects in Africa and other parts of the developing world.” Inter Milan said that Huang “will be named to the club's board of directors effective in October.” Huang leads QSL Sports Ltd., an “investment firm based in Hong Kong.” QSL brokered a deal in ‘09 “for a group of Chinese investors to buy a 15% stake” in the Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena, but he said that he “didn't invest in the Cavaliers himself” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/3). 
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