NEWS
Thursday April 13 2017
Who really owns Milan now?

Italy’s biggest financial paper claims new Milan owner Yonghong Li and US hedge fund Elliott will have to work out interest repayments.

Today the long-awaited closing finally happened, as Silvio Berlusconi signed over the club to Yonghong Li’s holding company Rossoneri Sport Luxembourg.

The Serie A side was valued at €740m, albeit with €220m debts, but the payment was only completed after several delays and the intervention of US hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation.

Il Sole 24 Ore – the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times – analysed the situation and is anxiously awaiting Friday’s Press conference for a clearer idea on who exactly owns the club now.

Yonghong Li borrowed around half of the €610m paid to Berlusconi’s Fininvest holding company from Elliott and it’s reported this loan comes with a 10 per cent interest rate, plus €15m arrangement fee.

That would come down to around €35m in interest and it’s unlikely he would find that from a club that is currently running at a loss of €80m per year and won’t be in the Champions League next season.

If the repayment doesn’t materialise after 18 months, Il Sole 24 Ore claims the USA Management hedge fund can try to repossess some of Yonghong Li’s assets.

Along with his wife, those amount to approximately €500m, making him not even one of the 400 richest men in China, certainly compared to Berlusconi’s €7bn.

Huarong are believed to be involved with some financing, but the new limitations set by the Chinese Government on exporting funds outside the country have made things more complicated.

It is also curious that while Yonghong Li is the head of the group buying Milan, Han Li has been signing the paperwork and meeting with directors to complete the deal. He was also pictured in the official photographs handed to the media after this morning's closing.

There are other problems too, as if Milan do qualify for the Europa League, then they will be subject to Financial Fair Play penalties.

Over the last three years, the Rossoneri have run at a loss of approximately €250m.

The new owners can present a dossier showing their plans to increase revenue and get the situation back on track, thereby earning some leeway with the rules.