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Inter Milan owners discuss private equity sale

Italian Serie A club Inter Milan are in talks with private equity groups over its potential sale from Suning Holdings.

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The prospective buyers include London-based BC Partners and Sweden's EQT, with private equity firms continuing to assist European football at it faces the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Current majority shareholders Suning Holdings, a Chinese retailer, has undertaken negotiations with varying parties over selling some or all of its holdings in the Lega Serie A side, reports claim. A source close to the deal claims that the owners value the club at 900 million.

The Chinese group has hired Goldman Sachs to advise them on any possible deal. Alongside BC Partners and EQT, US-based Arctos Sports Partners are among those interested in a deal. The report indicates that discussions with BC Partners seem to have progressed the furthest, thus far.

The news follows a number of private equity groups looking to take advantage of the coronavirus related losses, including in the Serie A itself, where CVC Capital Partners and Advent International are continued talks over a 1.9 billion deal to invest in the league's commercial rights. Elsewhere, the German Bundesliga and Spanish La Liga are talking to private equity investors over similar deals themselves.

Suning's main business in China has been facing financial pressures of its own with liquidity concerns, however, Inter Milan's losses last season can be accounted for the revenue shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 crisis. These pressures have led to Suning to seek additional outside investment for the club.

Suning also own digital broadcaster PPTV, whose $700 million broadcasting deal with the Premier League was terminated in September after it attempted to withhold payments and renegotiate its contract, citing the pandemic.

Author: Jake Wilkin