OFFICIAL: AC Milan sold to the Chinese, the era of Silvio Berlusconi and Fininvest comes to an end after 31 years

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Silvio Berlusconi holds up the FIFA Club World Cup before Milan-Napoli at the San Siro on the 13th of January 13. (Photo by Newpress/Getty Images)
Silvio Berlusconi holds up the FIFA Club World Cup before Milan-Napoli at the San Siro on the 13th of January 13. (Photo by Newpress/Getty Images)

After months of talks, rumours, denials and countless delays – the historic day has arrived: Silvio Berlusconi is no longer the owner of Milan; ‘Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux’, led by Chinese businessmen Yonghong Li and Han Li, are the new owners after completing the acquisition on Thursday morning.

After 31 years, 29 trophies, many wins and losses, plenty of highs & also some lows, and countless of moments to cherish forever, Silvio Berlusconi has sold entire stack in Associazione Calcio Milan.

The man who bought the club in 1986 and brought Milan to the absolute top of the world, today (Thursday) says goodbye to the perhaps his greatest love, as the Chinese takeover has been completed.

Yesterday, Yonghong Li and Han Li – the leaders of the ‘Rossoneri Sport Investment Luxemburg’ group (previously part of Sino-Europe Sports which dissolved in the last months) – landed in Italy, and today Han Li had a meeting at the GOP law firm (Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners) along with Fininvest CEO Danilo Pellegrino and others in order to sign the documents.

 Han Li (R) and future Milan CEO Marco Fassone (L) arriving at the GOP Law Firm to conclude the takeover on the 13th of April 2017. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Han Li (R) and future Milan CEO Marco Fassone (L) arriving at the GOP Law Firm to conclude the takeover on the 13th of April 2017. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

The details of the operation were confirmed in the joint press release of Fininvest, up until today Milan’s holding company, and the new owners, Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux:

Today Fininvest has completed the sale of the entire stake owned in AC Milan – equal to 99.93% – to Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux.

The closing is the last step of the purchase agreement signed on August 5th 2016 and renewed on March 24th by Fininvest CEO Danilo Pellegrino and David Han Li, as a representative of Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux.

The terms of the agreement are the same disclosed in August and reflect of an aggregate evaluation of AC Milan equal to €740 million, which includes the club’s indebtedness, equal to €220 million as of June 30th 2016. A €90 million refund for AC Milan’s running costs anticipated by Fininvest from July 1st 2016 hitherto add up to the evaluation.

The buyers also confirmed their commitment to undertake significant capital increases and liquidity injections aimed at strengthening AC Milan’s financial structure.

Tomorrow, Friday April 14th, AC Milan’s shareholders’ meeting will resolve, inter alia, on the appointment of the new governance bodies of the company.

Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux was supported by the financial adviser Rothschild & Co. and by the law firms Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners and Gattai, Minoli, Agostinelli & Partners. Fininvest was supported respectively by Lazard and Studio Chiomenti.

Marco Fassone (L) and Han Li (R) together with Auro Palomba (C), the Founder & CEO Community Group at the GOP Law Firm on the 13th of April 2017. (via @auropalomba)
Marco Fassone (L) and Han Li (R) together with Auro Palomba (C), the Founder & CEO Community Group at the GOP Law Firm on the 13th of April 2017. (via @auropalomba)

Galliani was briefly present at today’s summit but left before the official announcement arrived. According to Sky Italia the historic CEO and Vice President was very visibly moved at the Lega Serie A meeting this afternoon at which he told the representatives of the other clubs of the sale of the Rossoneri. He received a big round of applause from everyone that was present.

Berlusconi himself did not attend the meeting. As reported this morning by il Corriere della Sera, Silvio, who refused the role of an Honorary President, finds it difficult to talk about the sale of Milan even with those who are close to him. He’s believed to be extremely saddened and hurt. It’s still not official but Yonghong Li is expected to be appointed the new President of Milan.

On Wednesday, the Milan Board of Directors resigned; the only person from the current board who is expected to keep working for the new Diavolo is club lawyer Leandro Cantamessa, who has been part of the Rossoneri since 1984 – even before Berlusconi took over the club.

It has already been confirmed that Marco Fassone will replace Galliani and Barbara Berlusconi as the club’s CEO and Massimiliano Mirabelli will be the club’s director of sport; together, along with the coach, they will lead the sporting side of Milan and will try to take it to the top.

Adriano Galliani arriving at the GOP Law Firm on the 13th of April 2017. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Adriano Galliani arriving at the GOP Law Firm on the 13th of April 2017. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Chinese have bought 99.93% of Milan, which is the entire stack of Berlusconi; the rest is owned by minority shareholders, which are called ‘AC Milan’s Association for Minority Shareholders (APA)’. This group had previously raised many questions regarding the identity and the resources of the Chinese investors who today completed the acquisition of Milan. Those question marks have not entirely been removed as Yonghong Li and Han Li are both relatively unknown in China.

Big parts of the money used to complete the takeover arrived from the American hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation who agreed to loan Yonghong Li money to buy Milan. According to Il Sole 24 Ore, Elliott, through Blue Sky Asset Management, formed a holding company in Luxemburg called ‘Project RedBlack’ and using this company, they loaned €303 million to the new holding company of Milan – Rossoneri Sport Investment Luxemburg. It was reported in the past that Yonghong Li had agreed to pay them back the money in a future date with fixed interest.

Despite the many doubts and many delays, however, all the money has been paid and Berlusconi in his various interviews over the past couple of years in which negotiations took place, always assured he would only sell the club to someone with the financial strength to bring Milan’s glory days back.

The choreography in honor of Silvio Berlusconi before Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on the 20th of November 2016 (@acmilan.com)
The choreography in honor of Silvio Berlusconi before Milan-Inter at Stadio San Siro on the 20th of November 2016 (@acmilan.com)

It’s perhaps too early to talk about the transfer market, which as mentioned above – will be handled by Fassone and Mirabelli – but Il Sole 24 Ore still estimates that the Rossoneri will have €130-140m to spend in the upcoming summer. In addition to new purchases, there are also other priorities. The new ownership will look to give new contracts to star players Gianluigi Donnarumma, Mattia De Sciglio, Suso and also coach Vincenzo Montella, in whom they have faith according to reports.

It’s the first day of the new era at Milan. An era without Berlusconi and without Galliani, but with a new ambitious ownership. Their first objective – winning Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina.

47 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Mr.President for all this years and for stepping off the throne! You will always be our president!

    And now back to glory – buy, invest, bring back shiny silverware to our club!

    New players, new stadium, new management, new fitness and medical staff!

    We need it all. Good luck!

    • It’s like scoring a goal on Juventus. Yes? I just like to see the look on their face now because they know Milan must be for real.

  2. After all this time, I’ve mixed feelings of happiness and sorrow.

    A fresh start is what we all wanted, and this is more than that, yet, after 31 years and 29 trophies. Countless legends and greats, representing our beloved Red & Black, I’m left with feeling grateful to the greatest president football has ever seen.

    Mille Grazie Silvio, our president. We will always be thankful, and remember you as the man who helped us to the top of the world, building our greatest teams.

    Now, we must hope for the dawning of the new age for all Rossoneri. Let the sleeping giants of Milano awaken.

  3. Now we are about to enter the Era of Greatness. To all the Ac Milan doubters be ready coz the “Sleeping Giant ” is about to be awoken” . Enuff of the mediocrity, it’s time to rise from the Ashes to the Upper Echelons. Forza Milan 4 Life!!!!

    • I have had enough of the English football fans insulting us and calling us their “feeder club”. I hope this is the dawn of a new era.
      However, can someone tell me in what business are the Li’s involved? How did they make their money? I understand they got a loan from an American hedge fund but presumably they are rich people, otherwise no one would lend them so much money.

      • They are not rich, very little is known about them but they are certainly not rich. They probably got the loan because they seemed desperate and agreed to take the loan with high interest fee. Rothschilds are only in it for profit. We are now techniwally owned by the rotschilds, not good thing at all.

  4. First great step: the sale of AC Milan..
    Things am looking forward to:
    Milan qualifying for UEFA Europa league (even tho I bliv a champions league position is possible)..
    Followed up with real investment in the team and I bliv we will be great again within 3 years time.. this club is too prestigious for such mediocrity in recent years.. Napoli and Roma.. am sorry to say this buh in two years time u will be well behind my club.. always bleed red and black… Forza Milan

    It’s all over the internet.. I can’t stop laughing seeing this news..

    AC Milan new owner ‘wants to know’ Dybala price-tag.. Read more http://calciomercato.com/en/news/ac-milan-new-owner-wants-to-know-dybala-price-tag-74439

      • I know but it’s just a way for the New Chinese owners taking a jab at Juve…like saying “if you don’t stop looking at De Sciglio and our youth products, we might just as well clinch baby face Dybala”.

        But Milan should be wise. Get dynamic players, no oldies. I suggest

        BUYS: SOLD:
        Aubamenyang 60m Carlos Bacca 30m (To China or whereever)
        Bernardeschi 35m
        Cesc Fabregas 30m
        Jack Wilshere (Loan)
        Mateo Musacchio 15

        Total = 140m

        Get Kylian Mbappe Lottin next year for a record if Cutrone does not live up to expectations, and Milan qualifies for Champions league. Cutrone is waiting to explosed. So for Milan should invest wisely like PSG did.

  5. Finally!!! A roller coaster of a take over it has been. Now taking Ac Milan back to the very top must be the only priority. And a warm thanks to Berlusconi and Galliani for the beautiful years, they wrote their names in football forever. Forza Milan. Red and black forever

  6. Truly an emotional day.. Sad and happy at the same time here. I am forever grateful to Berlusconi and galliani for making the team I love a true powerhouse in football. They made it possible and today I forget the bad times and just think this is the reason they have sold, no longer could they invest so now we have new investers. To the new investors I say welcome and thank you! Please bring us back to where we belong. A powerhouse among Europe! Start investing and building a team of superstars. A big thank you again to everyone for everything. Memories that will last me a lifetime

  7. If we can now get ride of all the crap and buy three real players for each line besides gk. Next year we get back into champion league

  8. I think we can all agree that first thing needed is Donnarumma’s contract renewal… (And Suso, De Sciglio…)

  9. Before I was excited but now after official announcement I feel bitter

    We do not know what the future holds for Milan, these are two brothers who are stock brokers and bought the club with financial loan from investment fund.

    I will only be hopeful once I see first steps in right direction from new management

    Thank you for all the glory Silvio and Galliani you’ve written one of the biggest and most beautiful story that football world ever had

    Forza Milan!

  10. Comment: Am bracing up for what the new management has install for us.
    Will Montella stay or leave?
    Our key player: suso, MSD, Donnamuran, Calabria, Romagnoli, Sosa, Kuco, locatelli, Del & Lapadula. what will be their fate?????
    But DERBY is most important for the week while EUROPE for the session. FORZA Associazione Calcio Milan

  11. The long wait is over at lasttt….!!!!! Thanks to u B&G…..i never believed that the sale would even take place……stopped thinking about the date as i was sure of another postponement and so on……but lets hope a new era begin for us with all positives now…….to milan fans-keepkalmandForzaMilan

    To Milan board – we dont wanna b another psg,man city or Monaco…….we wanna be The Great AC Milan……
    To B&G – Thanks for all u have done nd u will be in our heart as one of the most successful owner of a football club and a great director even when there were mistakes……but as all the fans have waited for so long……its like an achievement…..we must get back to winning ways and tell the whole world that there is a team in Milan….who is not lost in History……..ForzaACM….ACMForever

  12. from van basten to rijkaard Ronaldo George weah andriy schevchenko pippo inzaghi Kaka Nesta ibrahimovic pato boban Pirlo thiago Silva amongst other what more can we can the fans expect from a man like berlusconi ..Grazie presidente

  13. What for buy dybala.. if the new owner very serious. U must buy stars player belotti, veratti, and strong italy defender.

  14. I don’t know about you guys but I am really worried. This is not a good start. I mean, Yonghong Li, apparently backed by richest guys in China, had to loan money from Rothschild(Devil descendants) who will only want their money and interest back asap on 300+millions. This guy better have a plan in place or Berlusconi messed up big time!

    • Not only that, how can he say we have 130-150m for summer mercato whn he clearly doesnt have that money right now. Will he loan money ever mercato? And wht about wages and the price u have to pay to run the club? He wil have to sell our best players. Running a football club is not that profitable.

      • That’s exactly what I am saying. Looks like whoever is backing Yonghong is yet not convinced that this will be a good deal. I mean, for the people who were rumored to be backing him, 302 Million must be a drop in a sea for them. But still they did not fund him. To save face, he loaned money from Rothschild investment fund, who will eat him alive if he doesn’t cough up the money and interest. And all of this will affect Milan’s books.

        • We are so screwed. And the so called people who were backing him was probably just a lie. They never made a offical statement, and as u said those sums are nothing for companies like them

      • When the Qataris bought PSG so many people said it was a waste that they would destroy the Club because they can’t keep up and so on…and no good players would join the League 1, Now we all can see what PSG become now in Europe. Same goes for Manchester City, Chelsea. I don’t understand why people in here and there are complaining about the sale while Berlusconi himself wanted it to go through long time ago because he said he cannot inject money in the club anymore. It was the best decisions to make instead of trying for years to keep Milan while you can’t buy any quality players. You all seem forget that lately, AC Milan has been outbid by any second-tier team in Premier League on players. It’s sad to see players chose any other team in England over Milan because we can’t challenge them with money. It’s too early to start blasting the new owners. I am not saying they have the solution to our longtime problems but we have to wait after this season is done to see what their plan is for the Club and what they will announce to the fans before we can spread your negativity.!

        • You can’t compare us with chel,psg and city. They have rich owners ofcourse they will spend big.while ours arent so its only natural to feel this way

  15. Monumental day in history of our beloved club. Thanks to President Berlusconi and all the best to the new owners.

  16. I have had enough of the English football fans insulting us and calling us their “feeder club”. I hope this is the dawn of a new era.
    However, can someone tell me in what business are the Li’s involved? How did they make their money? I understand they got a loan from an American hedge fund but presumably they are rich people, otherwise no one would lend them so much money.

    • Yonghong Li is worth around 600 millions but he is a stock broker, he’ll need investors now and hopefully he has someone big in his pocket otherwise I do not understand this deal

  17. Comment:my greatest thanks goes to band g for their love,passion and financial devotion to our beloved milan.I will never forget ur time,dedication,criticism u received for past few yr mr galliani.ur love 4 milan is uncommon and truly.mr burlusconi thank u so much

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