It will be a crucial week for the Italian AC Milan soccer team, after last Friday June 22nd its Chinese owner Yonghong Li did not paid the last 32 million euros tranche of a planned capital increase. So the 32 million euros will be paid by US Elliott fund which is the same lender who next October should be reimboursed of a 303 million euros debt.
So Mr. Li now has just a few days (rumors are by next July 6th or July 10th) to repay the 32 million euros to Elliott, otherwise the fund will enforce its rights to become owner of the soccer club. Actually Elliot has a chance to become owner of the club also next October when the debt is maturing and if the debt is not refinanced (see ahere a previous post by BeBeez).
In order to avoid losing all its investment, Yonghong Li is now looking for a partner who might be able to inject new cash in the company and first of all repay the 32 million euros new debt to Elliott, before buying all or part of Mr. Li’s shares in AC Milan and then preparing the debt refinancing by next October.
While talks with two counterparts are open, this afternoon is expected a say by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) for breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations and predictions are rather negative. On year out of the European league is exepected with a committement to verify a change of control of the company by the next season plus a 30 million euros ticket to be paid.
One of the two potential new shareholders of AC Milan is the Ricketts family, supported by advisor Morgan Stanley. The Ricketts confirmed their interest to buy control of the soccer club through a press release (see here Ansa) stressing that the deal does not involve just Thomas Ricketts, the owner of the baseball team Chicago Cubs, but the whole family which is the 66° richest family in the US as for Forbes.
The press release actually says that “the Rlicketts family (not just Tom) is interested in acquiring a controlling stake in AC Milan. While Tom is the reference person, the whole family and the entire family’s financial resources are involved in this affair, just like the Cubs’ property. The Ricketts, thanks to long-term investments, have led the Chicago Cubs to win a championship (the team founded in 1870 won the US championship for the first time after 108 years, the last winning happened in 1908, editor’s note) and were great administrators of the club. They would take the same approach to Milan. There would be no rapid changes but long-term investments to ensure lasting success”.
The other name in the race is the one of Rocco Commisso, the magnate of the American media company Mediacom, of Calabrian origins, who is supported in the deal by the advisor Goldman Sachs (see La Gazzetta dello Sport). With assets for as much as 4.5 billion dollars as for Forbes, Commisso in 2017 bought the New York Cosmos football team, the one that brought Pelèi n the US in the ’70s. After moving from Calabria to the US at the age of 12, the entrepreneur made his fortune in the cable TV business and then sold his Cablevision Industry in 1995 to Time Warner. In the same year he founded Mediacom, a company based in New York, of which he is ceo.