Conflicting Reports In Italian Media Regarding Suning’s Intention To Sell Inter

Conflicting Reports In Italian Media Regarding Suning’s Intention To Sell Inter
January 7, 2021 15:15
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Confusion reigned in the Italian media on Thursday over whether Inter’s owners Suning are looking to sell the club.

The Nerazzurri have been subject to intense speculation since Corriere dello Sport reported on Saturday that club president Steven Zhang was searching for a new majority shareholder.

Thursday’s print edition of Gazzetta dello Sport insisted the Zhang family have no intention of selling the club, but are instead seeking fresh funds to help with their liquidity problems while reviewing their overall business strategy in Europe.

CdS, however, reiterated that the outright sale of the club remains a possibility and went into detail over two separate funds who have expressed an interest in taking over at Inter.

One of the interested funds is based in Qatar and has already carried out their due diligence of Inter’s financial accounts, with Suning’s blessing.

The report highlights that such an exercise is a preliminary operation which is carried out before negotiations start both when looking to buy a majority stake and when seeking a minority share.

For the moment negotiations have not yet taken off due to the difference between offer and demand, with Suning valuing Inter at no less than €960 million and the Qatari fund proposing a far smaller figure.

The second interested party are British investment firm BC Partners, whose involvement is still in the preliminary phase.

Meetings have already taken place between Inter and BC Partners thanks to intermediary work from Goldman Sachs, the American investment bank who have long had close relations with the Zhang family.

Suning value the club at €960 million but this could drop to €850 million by exercising the option that they have on the shares of LionRock Capital.

The report from the Rome-based news outlet goes on to explain that the situation at Inter is ‘critical’, so much so that club chief executives Beppe Marotta and Alessandro Antonello will ask the FIGC on Saturday to move the payment deadline for their players’ remaining 2020 salaries back from the current date of 16 February.

Suning are therefore looking around for investment having realised that they will end the 2020-21 financial year with a great deficit.

Exporting capital from China has become difficult due to the restrictions the Chinese government have imposed when it comes to investment in football.

The report concludes that the offers of the potential investors in the club are being listened to and it is worth noting that in financial circles, the search for a minority shareholder is often interpreted as a desire to understand how much interest there would be in the market if they opted to sell the full asset.

By Cammy Anderson
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