Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol buys 48% stake in AC Milan
Milan, June 6 (IANS) Thai billionaire businessman Bee Taechaubol has bought 48 percent stake in Italian club AC Milan for a reported 500 million euros. Referred to by media outlets as Mr. Bee, he had been reportedly locked in negotiations with the club for months and finally bought a large stake in the club on Friday.
Under the arrangement, Berlusconi is set to remain President, while his holding company Fininvest would retain a majority 52 percent share of the club.
"President Silvio Berlusconi has approved the agreement signed by the Fininvest managing director Pasquale Cannatelli and Mr Bee Taechaubol that plans to negotiate exclusively for a period of eight weeks over a partnership with AC Milan," an AC Milan statement said on Friday.
"During this time, Silvio Berlusconi, who will continue to remain as president, and Mr Taechaubol will work together on a great and ambitious economic and sporting project to take Milan back to the highest levels of Italian and international football that are in line with the club's history, prestige and results."
Bee spoke about what his involvement means for long-term owner Silvio Berlusconi after the deal and said his motto is to "internationalise" the team.
"It is not the end of the Berlusconi era. Berlusconi is the man who made Milan great and will always remain tied to the club. It's not true that he is no longer interested in the team. The troubled negotiation process proves the exact opposite," he was quoted as saying by Italian daily La Republica on Friday.
"Milan have a fundamentally Italian soul and are a brand of Italian excellence. This must not change. It would be absurd to have a sky box full of Asian directors, as the club would lose its identity. The motto is not to change, but to add. Internationalise. The directors must be Italian. I don't want to be the president, as I am an investor."
"Nobody must touch central figures like Adriano Galliani and Barbara Berlusconi. Galliani did a great job, even when he didn't have a great budget," he added.
After finishing tenth in an abysmal Serie A campaign, Milan are desperate to see a reversal in their fortunes. They are already in talks with former coach of Italian clubs Sampdoria and Fiorentina, Sinisa Mihajlovic, to take over from Filippo Inzaghi in the next season.