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China's Suning to pay 270 million euros for near-70% stake in Inter Milan
[NANJING, China] Chinese retail giant Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd has agreed to buy nearly 70 per cent of famed Italian soccer club Inter Milan for 270 million euros (US$307 million), the highest-profile takeover of a European team so far by a Chinese firm.
Suning confirmed the deal on Monday at a joint news conference with Inter Milan executives, including current majority owner and president Erick Thohir, in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.
With President Xi Jinping an avid supporter of soccer, Suning's deal to take control of Inter Milan, which last won the European Champions League in 2010, is the latest step in a plan to create a global sports empire stretching from soccer clubs to online broadcasting.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier that Suning will buy a 68.55 per cent stake in the Italian club. Mr Thohir will cut his stake in the club to 31 per cent, while former president Massimo Moratti will sell off his entire stake in the club of just under 30 per cent, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter was confidential.
In a statement, the soccer club said Mr Thohir will stay on as president and become the sole minority shareholder in Inter Milan, while Mr Moratti will exit the club.