June 28, 2018 / 6:16 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. billionaire's offer for Italy's AC Milan values club at 500 million euros - sources

MILAN (Reuters) - An offer from U.S. television billionaire Rocco Commisso for a majority stake in Italy’s AC Milan would give the soccer club a total value of around 500 million euros (£442.4 million), including debt, sources close to the deal said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Yonghong Li shows a AC Milan jersey during a news conference in Milan, Italy, April 14, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo

AC Milan’s owner, businessman Li Yonghong, bought the so-called Rossoneri from former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi last year in a 740 million euro deal, including 190 million euros in debt.

Li has been looking for months for new investors for the loss-making club to share the financial burden.

European football’s governing body UEFA on Wednesday banned AC Milan from next season’s Europa League competition because of its uncertain finances.

Commisso, owner of North American soccer team New York Cosmos, has bid for 70 percent of AC Milan, a source said on Wednesday.

Negotiations for the acquisition of the stake have been put on hold by Li, who recently failed to make an agreed 32 million euro payment to the club, prompting U.S investment fund Elliott to fill the capital shortage.

If Li cannot repay Elliott by July 6, the fund manager could gain full ownership of the club.

The team and its owner have a total accumulated debt of 308 million euros towards Elliott which lent 180 million euros to Li and 128 million euros to AC Milan to fund the acquisition of players and repay part of the club’s debt with banks.

As part of the proposed deal, Commisso would take on all of the debt and would invest a further 150 million euros for the acquisition of new players and to run the club.

The other source added that Commisso would reimburse the 32 million euros owed by Li to Elliott.

The deal would leave a share of 30 percent worth some 150 million euros in the hands of Li, who would have by then accumulated a theoretical loss of 300 million euros, according to Reuters calculations based on the sources’ figures.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing by Giulia Segreti, editing by Alexandra Hudson

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