Oaktree takes control at Inter Milan


US investment firm gets control over Inter Milan Image: San Siro, Дмитрий Кошелев, CC BY-SA 4.0

The United States-based investment fund Oaktree Capital Management has become the new owner of Serie A champions Inter Milan.

The Guardian said the Oaktree takeover comes after a missed $428 million payment from the club’s Chinese holding company, Suning.

The loan was granted in 2021 to the Luxembourg-based vehicle through which the Chinese conglomerate Suning controlled Inter, and it was guaranteed by the firm’s stake in the club.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oaktree had the right to take control of the club in the event of Suning defaulting on payment.

Oaktree said it had provided Inter’s holding companies with rescue capital in May 2021 to “stabilise the club’s financial situation and enable it to continue operating, including to pay its players and employees”.

On Saturday, in a letter to fans, Inter chairman Steven Zhang – the son of Suning’s founder Zhang Jindong – said attempts to find an agreement with Oaktree had been unsuccessful.

Oaktree’s managing director, Alejandro Cano, said, “As the new ownership group, we understand the great responsibility towards the community and the historical legacy of Inter.

“Our initial focus is operational and financial stability. We have great respect for Inter Milan’s management team.”

The Guardian further stated that Inter becomes the seventh Serie A club under American ownership. The others are A.C. Milan, Atalanta, Fiorentina, Roma, Genoa and newly promoted Parma.

Founded in 1908, Inter are among the most famous clubs in Italian football, and have won the league 20 times.

Suning bought a majority stake in the club in 2016 in one of the highest profile forays by a Chinese business into European football.

The change of ownership comes as Inter are planning a move to a new stadium. The club is strongly committed to the project to develop a new standalone stadium on the outskirts of Milan, in the municipality of Rozzano.

The project, which is being overseen by international architectural firm Populous, foresees the construction of a modern, sustainable and accessible venue surrounded by green spaces and equipped with refreshment areas, shops and services.

The new stadium would have a capacity of 70,000 and be designed to provide the best comfort and an exciting and immersive experience for all fans. It would also contribute to the development of the city and have excellent connections to the centre of Milan, integrating with existing infrastructure.

Outside the stadium, a sports ‘town’ and welcome areas for fans and everyone attending the district would be created; all of this would be accessible for 365 days a year and complement the surrounding park.

The new venue would replace Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, commonly known as the San Siro, which is the home of both A.C. Milan and Inter Milan. It has a seating capacity of 80,018, making it one of the largest stadiums in Europe, and the largest in Italy.

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