According to Sport Business, a consortium of major Chinese companies is set to join forces with a crowdfunding initiative in a bid to acquire ailing Italian Serie A football club AC Milan, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
Fu Yixiang, vice-president of the Italy-China Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua that five companies have been linked to a possible takeover of the club. Fu said the consortium consists of China-based firms in the shape of beverage maker Wahaha, real estate developer Wanda, telecommunications giant Huawei and e-commerce company Alibaba. The other party is an unnamed Thai firm.
Fu, stating that no single party is willing to pay €1bn ($1.06bn) for Milan, added: “A crowdfunding move is under way in China. A consortium formed by several big companies will pay half of the €1bn and the other half will be raised through crowdfunding with one share expected to cost no more than 10,000 yuan (€1,511/$1,597).”
Earlier this month, Chinese billionaire Zong Qinghou rejected reports that he is planning a bid for Milan. Zong is chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha Group and is said to be worth around $19bn. Italian media reports suggested he was planning to acquire a stake of up to 75 per cent in Milan, but he dismissed these claims as “sheer fiction.”
The reports came after the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper last month said that Silvio Berlusconi, owner of Milan, had signed a preliminary agreement to sell a 30 per cent stake in the team to Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol. Fininvest, the holding company of Berlusconi, in February played down reports that a Singaporean-led bid of €970m for the club had been rejected by the former Italian Prime Minister.
Fu added: “Berlusconi wants to sell the club, it’s not a secret. The question is that there is no consensus within his family on when to sell it. Some want to sell it as soon as possible arguing that it is a financial burden, while the others prefer to keep it until construction on the new stadium is completed so that they can demand a high price.” [Source: Sport Business]