China deal for AC Milan likely to be postponed – sources
Takeover could be delayed until February as entrepreneur waits for Beijing approval on final payment
Silvio Berlusconi and the Chinese investors seeking to buy his Italian soccer club AC Milan are discussing the possibility of postponing the closing of the deal to the end of February, according to sources.
The sources said that Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest could ask for a further 100 million euros (US$107 million) from the Chinese consortium in exchange for the delay and that a final decision would be made in the next few days.
The investors, backed by Haixia Capital and entrepreneur Yonghong Li, signed an accord in August to gain full control of the Serie A team, through investment vehicle Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing (SES).
On Saturday Berlusconi said approvals from the Chinese government for the final 420 million euro payment could delay the closing, initially expected for December 13, and that he was prepared to postpone it by up to six weeks.
The group has already paid 100 million euros in two separate tranches to Berlusconi’s family holding company.
“In today’s meeting, the financial aspects and the timings (were discussed) in view of the finalization of the operation,” said a joint Fininvest and SES statement on Friday.
The note gave no indication of the delay but added that Fininvest and SES had scheduled a meeting next week for “the analysis of all necessary details.”