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Report: Inter Milan near US$1bn Saudi-led takeover

Public Investment Fund looking to increase soccer presence after Newcastle United acquisition.

4 January 2022 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Deal could be announced in the coming days, according to IBTimes
  • Inter posted record Serie A loss of €245.6m for 2020/21

Italian soccer champions Inter Milan are close to being taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), according to the International Business (IB) Times.

A deal, reportedly worth US$1 billion, for the Serie A club could be announced in the coming days.

Inter have been majority owned by Chinese conglomerate Suning Holdings Group since June 2016, but speculation about a takeover has been simmering since early last year. Suning had already been on the lookout for investment since 2019, before making clear last February its plans to double down on its retail business, suggesting the company was looking to scale back its involvement with the Nerazzurri

Fueling that has been Inter’s financial situation. In May, the club confirmed a loan, reportedly worth €275 million (US$310 million), with Oaktree Capital Management to help shore up the club’s finances. Inter also revealed a loss of €245.6 million (US$277.2 million) for the 2020/21 financial year, a record for a Serie A team. That came after the club posted a loss of €102.4 million (US$115.6 million) for 2019/20. IBTimes adds Inter are currently losing about US$15 million per month.

A takeover by the PIF would see Inter become one of the richest clubs in world soccer. The fund has total estimated assets of approximately US$500 billion. PIF made its first major soccer investment in October, buying English top-flight outfit Newcastle United for UK£300 million (US$405 million).

Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport had initially reported last March that the PIF was eyeing a 30 per cent stake in Inter worth around €300 million (US$339 million). IBTimes’ report says the PIF will become the club’s largest shareholder.

In addition to Inter, the PIF has also been linked with takeovers of French top-flight club Olympique de Marseille and an undisclosed Brazilian top tier team, according to IBTimes, as Saudi Arabia bids to become a major player in international soccer.

Away from soccer, the PIF has been named title sponsor of golf’s controversial Saudi Invitational. The tournament was previously on the European Tour but is now the flagship event on the Asian Tour, which is also launching ten new events spearheaded by former world number one Greg Norman.

The PIF has committed US$200 million to the Asian Tour through LIV Golf Investments, an investment firm under its majority ownership.

Last month also saw the PGA Tour give permission for players to compete in the Saudi International, which is set to take place from 3rd to 6th February.

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