RedBird Capital has reached an agreement to purchase AC Milan in a deal that values the Italian soccer club at $1.3 billion (€1.2 billion).
The deal, announced Wednesday, is expected to close prior to September 2022. AC Milan just won the Serie A title and has been owned by Florida-based Elliott Investment Management for the past four years. Elliott is staying on as a minority investor and will retain board seats.
“RedBird’s investment philosophy and track record in team ownership has shown that football clubs can be successful on the pitch and sustainable off it,” RedBird founder and managing partner Gerry Cardinale said in a statement. “We are looking forward to a long term partnership with the club, its management team and Milanisti around the world to keep propelling Milan in the years to come.”
The deal adds to RedBird’s growing sports portfolio. Led by Cardinale, the group owns French soccer club Toulouse and 10% of Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool, the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is a partner in the new XFL, which launches next year, and is a minority investor in the YES Network.
The firm, which has $6 billion under management, is also invested across the movie, music and entertainment industry—including Wasserman Media, SpringHill and Skydance. There will likely be additional business synergies between that part of its business and Milan, one of the fashion industry’s most important cities.
The sale comes right after Clearlake Capital, another U.S. private equity firm, led the financing in the $3.16 billion acquisition of English soccer club Chelsea. That deal closed last week.
Elliott took control of AC Milan in 2018 after the prior owner defaulted on his debt. The financials specifics of that transaction are complex, but the club was reported to have an effective value of about $470 million (€400 million) at the time.
AC Milan has won 19 Serie A titles, and seven UEFA Champions League. The club’s revenue ranked No. 19 in Europe (and No. 3 in Italy) in Deloitte’s most recent analysis of international soccer. The Italian league’s revenue, particularly from media, has lagged behind that of rival European leagues like the Premier League and La Liga.
The new ownership’s priorities will likely include a new stadium. AC Milan currently plays at San Siro, which opened in 1926 and is also home to crosstown rival Inter Milan.
(This story was updated after the deal was formally announced.)