Fans of the AC Milan soccer club at a contest between the team and Real Madrid in Shanghai.(Photo provided to China Daily)
A Chinese investor group pursuing a takeover of the AC Milan soccer club, which is controlled by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, is targeting a deal by June, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The consortium, whose investors have a background in renewable energy and media, has agreed on most key terms and is seeking a deal in time for the summer transfer season, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are confidential.
Berlusconi's Fininvest and the Chinese group have already discussed plans to strengthen the squad, and the initial investment would be used to make the team more competitive rather than pay down debt, one of the people said.
Berlusconi, who has owned Milan for 30 years, is seeking a buyer at a low point in the club's history. Once considered soccer royalty, the team is languishing in sixth place in the Italian league and fired its manager on Tuesday.
A deal would also mark the second major Chinese investment in a European soccer club in less than six months, after the group led by China Media Capital Holdings bought a $400 million stake in Manchester City Football Club's owner.
The Chinese consortium is targeting at least a 50 percent stake, which could rise to about 70 percent, one of the people said.