Change of guard in Roma; Friedkin new boss


AS Roma takeover Aug 2020 Image: AS Roma

It is official: The Friedkin Group are the new owners of Italian professional football club AS Roma, the Serie A side announced on Monday, two weeks after US billionaire Dan Friedkin struck a deal worth more than $700 million to purchase the Italian club.

AS Roma is an Italian professional football club based in Rome. Founded by a merger in 1927, Roma have participated in the top-tier of Italian football for all of their existence except for 1951-52.

The Friedkin Group announced the acquisition of the 86.6 percent majority stake in the club and they will launch a mandatory tender offer upon the publicly held ordinary shares.

Roma said earlier this month that formal contracts with the Houston (US), Texas-based Friedkin Group, were signed for a transaction valued at 591 million euros ($700.75 million).

“Our commitment to Roma is total,” Dan Friedkin, head honcho and Chairman of The Friedkin Group, said in a statement.

“We will be very present in Rome, a City that holds a special place in our hearts, as we embark on this exciting journey. We recognize we are entrusted with a team that is a vital part of the soul of Rome, and this is a responsibility that we find humbling and will always take very seriously,” the statement added.

The club confirmed it had received the resignation of departing club President James Pallotta and other members from the Board of Directors.

“Like every Roma fan in the world, I truly hope The Friedkin Group can build on what we have done over the last eight years, transforming Roma into a truly international club, and take AS Roma to the next level,” Pallotta said.

“This is an incredibly special football club and I leave with many unforgettable memories,” Pallotta added.

After a group of US investors spearheaded by Pallotta bought Roma in 2012, the club finished runners-up three times behind champions Juventus. However, they missed out on the Champions League in the last two seasons after finishing sixth and fifth.

Earlier, AS Roma had confirmed that Friedkin has agreed on a deal to purchase the Italian Serie A football club.

AS Roma SPV, the majority shareholder in the club, has signed a binding equity purchase agreement with The Friedkin Group for the sale of the controlling interest in the club and certain related assets.

Earlier, Pallotta had stated, “I am pleased to confirm we have reached an agreement with The Friedkin Group for the sale of AS Roma. We have signed the contracts and, over the coming days, will now work together to complete the formal and legal process that will result in the club changing hands.”

“Over the last month, Dan and Ryan Friedkin have demonstrated their total commitment to finalizing this deal and taking the club forward in a positive way. I am sure they will be great owners for AS Roma,” he added.

The deal has been signed amid ongoing uncertainty over Roma’s plans for a new stadium, with the project hanging fire over the years. Roma currently shares the Stadio Olimpico with cross-city rival Lazio and Pallotta has had a long-held vision for the club to move into the proposed 52,500-seat Stadio della Roma, which would be located in the Tor di Valle district in Italy.

Back in March 2019, Pallotta had hoped that the development would see the light of day by 2023 but there has been little progress since then. His comments came after the process surrounding the project was dealt another blow following the arrest of four people, including a senior local politician.

The project was first put forward in February 2012 but at the Government level there is reportedly a lot of bureaucratic foot dragging. The project was given the nod by the City and the region’s four main governing bodies in December 2017 but still required further greenlighting before work could begin.

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