Berlusconi says not selling control of AC Milan

Reuters , Monday 16 Feb 2015


Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Monday he was not interested in selling control of AC Milan, following reports of an offer being made for the soccer club by a Thai businessman.

Earlier on Monday local media had said Bee Taechaubol, executive director of southeast Asian private equity group Thai Prime Company Limited, had offered 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) for a controlling stake in AC Milan.

Taechaubol is also a co-owner of the Global Legends Series (GLS) Bangkok series of charity matches that feature famous veteran soccer players.

The Bangkok Post said that Bee wanted at least a 50 percent stake in the seven-times European champions but not complete ownership.

Bee was confident of completing a deal within a month, the report added. The businessman could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

But Fininvest, the Berlusconi holding company that owns AC Milan, said in a statement there were no talks about selling the club, which Berlusconi has owned since the 1980s.

"Fininvest reiterates it is not interested in selling a majority stake in AC Milan," it said.

"Various parties have shown interest in a partnership involving Milan but, having said that, Fininvest categorically denies the existence of talks of any substance and of any pre- agreement or decisive meetings on the agenda," it added.

One of Italian soccer's most prestigious clubs, Milan has struggled since last winning the country's Serie A premier league title in 2011.

The club, which employed four different head coaches last year, are 11th in the 20-team standings following a 1-1 draw with Empoli on Sunday. They trail leaders Juventus by 24 points with 15 games to go.

Despite the on-field issues, the club was ranked the 10th richest in world football by Deloitte last month with revenue of $250 million for the 2013-14 season.

If a deal is concluded Milan would follow its local rival in being bought by south east Asian investors after Indonesian Erick Thohir headed a group which acquired a 70 percent stake in Inter Milan in 2013.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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