[SHANGHAI] Chinese investors are close to agreeing an 80 per cent stake buy in soccer club in AC Milan and will acquire the remaining 20 per cent in the next two to three years, the China Daily newspaper reported on Friday.
"Two parties are discussing the 80 per cent takeover by the Chinese investors and the negotiations are still continuing,"the newspaper quoted an unidentified person familiar with the talks as saying.
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose family holding company Fininvest owns AC Milan, opened exclusive talks in May with the Chinese consortium about selling a majority stake to try to inject new capital into a club which has failed to win a major competition in the past five years.
Reuters reported at the time that the Chinese were valuing the club at up to 750 million euros (S$1.12 billion), including debt, and that talks had envisaged an initial sale of 70 per cent.
The source also told China Daily that Fininvest is confident that a final agreement can reached in the next week, although some important legal and financial details had still to be agreed and would need approval by Berlusconi.
Chinese electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group last month agreed to buy nearly 70 per cent of the club's Italian rivals Inter Milan for 270 million euros, in the highest-profile takeover of a European team by a Chinese firm.