Silvio Berlusconi agrees to sell majority stake in AC Milan to Chinese consortium

A general view of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Image: AC Milan are on the brink of a Chinese takeover after a preliminary agreement was reached

Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to sell AC Milan to a consortium of Chinese investors, ending his 30-year ownership of the seven-time European champions.

The former Italian Prime Minister's Fininvest family holding said it had signed a preliminary agreement valuing the club at €740m (£627.4m), which includes €220m (£186.5m) of debt.

The Chinese investors, whose identity had not been disclosed during three months of negotiations, included development and investment fund Haixa Capital and Yonghong Li, chairman of management company Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing, the statement said.

It added there were other companies involved in the deal, some of which are controlled by the Chinese state, but gave no further details on their exact identity.

Last month, a source said that private investment firm GSR Capital, with its co-founder and Chinese dealmaker Sonny Wu, were among investors but the Fininvest statement did not mention either.

Chinese investors with cash to spend have been pouring money into football, as President Xi Jinping looks to make the country a global force in the sport.

The news comes after Yunyi Guokai Sports Development Ltd, controlled by businessman Guochuan Lai, agreed to buy Premier League club West Brom.

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Once the AC Milan deal goes through, it will mean both of the city's soccer clubs are controlled by Chinese investors.

In June, Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd agreed to buy nearly 70 percent of city rivals Inter Milan for €270m (£228.9m) in what was the highest profile takeover of a European team by a Chinese firm.

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