AC Milan ‘close in on new ownership group’ including the Yankees & LeBron James in huge $1.2bn deal

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The New York Yankees, LeBron James and rapper Drake are closing in on a deal to become part-owners of AC Milan, as RedBird Capital Partners reportedly near an agreement to purchase the Italian champions for an eyewatering $1.2billion.

The acquisition is nearing conclusion, according to the Financial Times.

A preliminary agreement was reached in June between Gerry Cardinale, the founder and managing partner of RedBird, and the incumbent Elliott Management firm — with the closing scheduled for September.

James and Drake will be passive investors in Milan through Main Street Advisors — of which they are partners — and have not taken direct stakes, the report said.

Officials close to RedBird are yet to comment on the latest report but an announcement is imminent.

The Yankees, the 27-time World Series champions, are already involved in soccer as co-owners with Manchester City of New York City FC in Major League Soccer. New York City FC plays some of its home games at Yankee Stadium.

Main Street Advisors, of which James and Drake are partners, has stakes in English Premier League club Liverpool and the MLB’s Boston Red Sox.

RedBird also has a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool and the Red Sox.

Champions League rules prohibit two clubs in the competition being under the same ownership to protect the integrity of games on the field.

European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, will likely have to make a judgment on the extent of RedBird’s influence on decision-making at Liverpool.

RedBird is set to become Milan’s fourth owner in five years. The Rossoneri are seven-time European champions and most recently won the Italian league title, its first in 11 years.

Elliott has owned Milan since 2018 after the club’s former Chinese owner failed to repay part of a loan.

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi controlled Milan for more than 30 years before selling to the Chinese group in 2017.

Having previously failed to qualify for Europe’s elite competition for seven consecutive years – that included a one-year UEFA ban for breaking financial monitoring rules – Milan is playing in the Champions League for a second consecutive season, which will have significant impact on their financial might.

Inter Milan, Roma, Fiorentina and Bologna are among other foreign-owned teams in Serie A.

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