Chinese Suning buys 70 percent of Inter Milan
Suning Commerce Group, one of the most known Chinese retail group, will acquire almost 70% of Inter Milan for € 270 million. The Great Inter Milan, which has seen many stars such as Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Kongdogbia, becomes the first big European football club to be bought mainly by a Chinese shareholder.
At a joint press conference with officials of the Italian club, held in Nanjing on Monday Suning confirmed the agreement. The current president and majority shareholder of Inter Milan is the famous Indonesian Erick Trohir.
An informed source said that Suning would take a share of around 68.55% (precisely!). The former president Nerazzurri, Massimo Moratti, therefore gives all of his shares in the club, which basically means just under 30%, while at the same time, Erick Thohir reduced his 31%.
In a statement, Inter Milan has confirmed that he would remain president of the club and would thus become its only minority shareholder since Suning will control the remaining lot.
Suning’s ambition is to create a world empire of sports ranging from possessing clubs to streaming online events. This therefore reflects a real e-commerce push in China and uninterrupted growth of turnover of top names in this field such as JD.com or Tmall.
The Nerazzurri start to the Asian time
The redemption of the Nerazzurri, which were European champion back in 2010, Suning made the first batch of mainland China to control a big name in European football.
Some Chinese investors already have minority shares in Manchester City and Atletico Madrid for instance. Two other second-tier clubs, Espanyol in Spain and Aston Villa in England, are already controlled by Chinese companies.
AC Milan, the eternal rival of Inter, is also in talks with Chinese investors. These two clubs that evolve in the mythical San Siro, could thus still be linked by the nationality of their shareholders, although when on the field they are fierce rivals.
China’s ambition to compete with big football nations
Suning has a big number of annual sales. It has come up to 18 billion euros !! The group already holds shares in the world of football. The group has a local club, Jiangsu Suning, and spent millions to bring in players like Brazilians Alex Teixeira and Ramires.
There are contacts with FC Barcelona, the recent Spanish champions and Liverpool FC. They also have a stake in the Chinese digital platform PPTV, which will broadcast the Euro 2016 games in a few days.
This reflects the ambition of Chinese President Xi Jinping to develop the sports industry in China and of course football. The head of state, himself a football fan, wants to see China host oneday – and win – the FIFA World Cup. An achievable challenge you think?
Chinese and European Football
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