Chinese firm buys majority stake in Inter Milan
Nanjing (China), June 6 (IANS) China's Suning Commerce Group announced on Monday it was buying nearly 70 percent of Italian football club Inter Milan for $306 million, making it the second European side to be owned by China, following the recent acquisition of Aston Villa by the Recon Group.
The acquisition was announced during a press conference in a luxury hotel here, in the presence of the presidents of Inter Milan and Suning -- Erick Thohir and Zhang Jingdong, respectively, and Inter Milan Vice President Javier Zanetti and Chief Executive Michael Bolingbroke.
The deal was finalised over the weekend in Nanjing at the headquarters of Suning, a company that started its business with household appliances but diversified into businesses, including real estate and finance, becoming the third largest private firm in China.
"We are convinced that the immense influence of Inter will help Suning to grow internationally," said President Zhang after the agreement was announced.
Thohir, the Indonesian businessman who became majority shareholder of Inter in 2013, highlighted that the deal will help develop Italian football globally and show that the sport "has no borders".
Inter Milan, with 108 years of history and 18 leagues and three European Cups, is the most important European club to be acquired by a Chinese firm, a mere two weeks after the Recon Group, owned by Tony Jiantong Xia, bought England's Aston Villa for $88 million.