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American fund Redbird buys AC Milan for 1.2 billion euros

The American fund Redbird has completed the acquisition of AC Milan for 1.2 billion euros, the Italian club of Alexis Saelemaekers, Divock Origi and Charles De Ketelaere, owned since 2018 by Elliott Management, announced on Wednesday. other US fund. The New York Yankees baseball franchise will have a minority stake, said in a press release the club with seven coronations in the Champions League (Italian record), which became Italian champions for the 19th time in May.

“We will support our talented players, coaches and staff to succeed on the pitch,” said RedBird founder Gerry Cardinale, who wants to “keep Milan at the top of European and world football”.

The sale of this jewel of the calcio, long held by the businessman and former President of the Italian Council Silvio Berlusconi (1986-2017), was concluded on June 1 with Elliot Management.

RedBird is present in the sports world in North America, but is also already active in Europe, through a minority stake in the English club Liverpool but also with control since 2020 of Toulouse, promoted to Ligue 1.

He is also associated with a Californian fund, Main Street Advisors, headed by businessman Paul Wachter, and counting basketball star LeBron James, music producer Jimmy Iovine and rapper Drake among his own associates.

This operation confirms the attractiveness of Italian football in the eyes of North American investors: more than a third of Serie A clubs were American or Canadian owned last season (AS Roma, Bologna, Fiorentina, Venice, La Spezia, Genoa and partly Atalanta Bergamo).

If they come out of a less glorious decade, the Rossoneri have been sparking again for two years, a revival confirmed by the scudetto won in May, the first since 2011.

At that time, Silvio Berlusconi was still the owner.

The businessman had bought the club in 1986 to take it to the roof of Europe with play and stars (Van Basten, Gullit, Maldini, Kaka, Pirlo, Shevchenko…). He parted ways in 2017 when the club was heavily in debt and sportingly overwhelmed.

Elliott Management took over the club somewhat by chance a year later, as a creditor to the Chinese buyer, businessman Li Yonghong, who was unable to repay a loan.

The fund has bet on young players with high potential, entrusting its sports policy to club legend Paolo Maldini, 54, and has avoided salary splurges. The only real star of the team today is the forties Zlatan Ibrahimovic, guardian of a young generation lacking in experience.

The recipe worked: AC Milan seduced again and the accounts are more presentable. Losses fell back below €100m in 2020/21 (€96m), for the first time since 2017, after peaking in 2020 (€195m).

In addition to the brand image of AC Milan, the interest of the operation is based on the new stadium project carried out by the Lombard club and its rival, Inter Milan. Synonymous with increased ticketing revenue, the new enclosure would succeed the venerable San Siro after 2026, but is still debated locally.

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