• Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Oaktree to buy stake in Inter in $336m financing deal

  • Published at 04:34 pm May 19th, 2021
Inter players and staff celebrate

Inter are suffering due to the hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the club's Chinese owners had been discussing a deal for months to shore up their finances

Italian champions Inter Milan are close to securing a 275m euro ($336m) deal to help their finances and hand a minority stake to US investment firm Oaktree Capital Group (OAK_pa.N), two sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Inter, crowned Serie A champions this month for the first time in 11 years, are suffering like rivals due to the hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the club's Chinese owners had been discussing a deal for months to shore up their finances.

The lifeline loan would be granted to Great Horizon Sarl, the Luxembourg-based vehicle through which the Chinese retail giant Suning (002024.SZ) controls the club, and Inter shares would be pledged to Oaktree as loan collateral, the sources said.

As part of the deal, Oaktree would get a 31% stake currently held by LionRock Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm, and at least one place on the club's board, the two sources said.

A third source said Tom Pitts, LionRock's head of Europe, would step down from Inter's board of directors.

Oaktree is also one of the main holders of a 375m euro bond issued by Inter's media unit expiring in 2022, two sources added.

Chinese retail giant Suning (002024.SZ), which has owned Inter since 2016, would retain control with its 68.5% holding.

The deal could be announced as early as Wednesday, one source added.

Oaktree, Lionrock and Suning all declined to comment.

Inter were one of the three Italian founding members, alongside Juventus (JUVE.MI) and AC Milan, of the European Super League, a breakaway project which collapsed days after its announcement.

Inter are facing a drop in revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, as matches are played in empty stadiums and companies cut sponsorship budgets. 

New spending restrictions on soccer clubs imposed by Chinese authorities further complicate matters.

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta last week said the Italian club must reduce its wage bill to keep its business sustainable in the face of the financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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