Silvio Berlusconi has finally sold his soccer team, AC Milan. Price: $828 million.
The buyer is a group led by Yonghong Li. The deal was first reported by James Horncastle .
The $828 million price is just $3 million more than Forbes valued the Serie A team in May.
Chinese investors have been snapping up soccer teams. Just last month, Chinese company Suning purchased a majority stake in AC Milan’s rival, Inter Milan. On a smaller scale, chairman Jeremy Peace has just agreed to sell West Bromwich Albion Holdings, the Club’s parent company, to a Chinese investment group headed by Guochuan Lai.
These teams are not just trophy assets, but great international brands. The top leagues have seen robust gains in revenue from new television deals. Even in the U.S., Fox and NBC Sports have been paying much more for the rights to the top German and English leagues.
AC Milan’s new owners should help the team, which has been hemorrhaging cash, become competitive by signing better players. The team’s fans have been frustrated in recent years as AC Milan has not finished near the top of the Serie A and has missed the Champions League. It has become a vicious cycle–less competitive team, less money as a result of where the team finishes in the standings, less money to spend.
Hopefully that cycle is now over.