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Berlusconi may ask for new downpayment if AC Milan deal delayed - source

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Italian tycoon and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves the hospital after a heart surgery in Milan, Italy July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/Files
Italian tycoon and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves the hospital after a heart surgery in Milan, Italy July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/Files

MILAN (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi's holding company may ask the Chinese investors seeking to buy Italian soccer club AC Milan to make a further downpayment if the deal's closing is postponed, two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Monday.

On Saturday the Chinese consortium confirmed its commitment to wrapping up the deal "as soon as possible" after the former prime minister, who has owned the prized team for over three decades, hinted at a delay in the long-awaited acquisition.

The investors, backed by Haixia Capital and entrepreneur Yonghong Li, signed an accord in August to gain full control of the Serie A club, through investment vehicle Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing (SES).

The group has already paid 100 million euros ($105 million) in two separate tranches to Berlusconi's Fininvest family holding and is due to pay another 420 million at a shareholders' meeting on Dec. 13 to complete the deal.

In a TV interview on Saturday, Berlusconi said SES had assured him it had the money to buy the club, but approvals from the Chinese government to take the money out of the country could further delay the closing.

If the approvals do not come in time, Berlusconi said he was prepared to postpone the closing by up to a month and a half.

($1 = 0.9450 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)


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