The Moratti family, which owns more than 95% of Inter Milan – one of Italy’s most famous football clubs – is to sell some of its stake to a group of Chinese investors. But unlike other football club-owning families that have recently made headlines, the Morattis aren’t selling to clear off debts.
A statement this week by Internazionale Holding, the football club’s parent, said: “The Moratti family will keep control of the company while the group of Chinese investors will become the second largest shareholder.”
No financial details were disclosed. It is also not known how much of the family’s stake will be sold, but speculation is rife that it will be between 15% and 20%.
The release added that China Railway 15th Bureau Group, a company jointly controlled by the country’s Railway Construction Corporation and Inter, will build a stadium for the team, expected to be completed by 2017.
The football club, headed by family member Massimo Moratti, currently shares a stadium with rival team AC Milan.
As part of the agreement Kamchi Li, Kenneth Huang and Fabrizio Rindi – representing the Chinese investors – will also become board members at Inter from October.
“[The move is] aimed at expanding [Inter’s] presence in the Asian markets to raise new resources for the enhancement of its international future development and winning perspectives,” added the statement.
Moratti, who is also chief executive of petroleum refining family business Saras, first took over as Inter’s president in 1995.
The announcement by the Morattis comes just a few weeks after the Glazer family, which controls Manchester United, confirmed it will list in New York later this year. The British football club owes more than €500 million, largely due to the family’s takeover of the team in 2005.
Last year, Italy’s Sensi family also sold its stake in Italpetroli football club to clear off debts amassed by family members.