U.S. Investor Buys Majority Stake In Italian Soccer Club AS Roma
A consortium led by U.S. private equity investor Thomas DiBenedetto “has become the first foreign owner of an Italian top league football club, after agreeing on Thursday to buy a controlling stake in AS Roma,” according to Giulia Segreti of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The 67% stake, for which the consortium “is paying [US$100.6M], is being sold by UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank.” DiBenedetto is President of investment company Boston Int'l and a partner in Fenway Sports Group. UniCredit will "retain an interest in the club ... as it owns 40 per cent of Neep Roma, the vehicle that bought the stake” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/19). The SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s John Lombardo reports after DiBenedetto’s deal closes, he “will handle day-to-day operations for the franchise with RaptorAcclerator executives taking a role in restructuring the front office.” RaptorAccelerator “will look to boost the business fortunes” of AS Roma as the recently created sports and entertainment consultancy “begins an operational overhaul of the franchise.” RaptorAccelerator was launched in June by Raptor Group Chair & Managing Dir James Pallotta and “is run by former HSBC Holdings banker Mark Pannes" and former MSG Sports and Celtics exec Sean Barror. The company “will be responsible for increasing AS Roma’s revenue with a strategy calling for an expansion of media rights fees, an increase in global marketing and merchandising efforts, and a plan to tour outside of Italy” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/19 issue).