US fund Oaktree 'assumes ownership' of Inter Milan

football22 May 2024 10:10| © AFP
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Inter Milan were taken over by US fund Oaktree on Wednesday after the Serie A champions' outgoing owners Suning missed a deadline to repay a debt worth hundred of millions of euros.

In a statement, Oaktree announced they had "assumed control" of Inter after the non-repayment of a "three-year loan to Inter Milan's holding companies that matured on 21 May 2024 with a total balance due of approximately 395 million euros ($428 million)".

Chinese conglomerate Suning have relinquished control of Inter to Oaktree three days after the team were officially crowned Italian champions for the 20th time.

Suning borrowed 275 million euros at over 12 per cent interest three years ago to pay staff and players as the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the finances of clubs across Europe, putting up their controlling stake in the club as collateral.

"Oaktree is dedicated to achieving the best outcome for the long-term prosperity of Inter Milan, with an initial focus on operational and financial stability for the Club and its stakeholders," Oaktree continued.

Inter became a powerful force at home and abroad after Suning acquired the club in 2016, with seven trophies including two Serie A titles and two European finals.

Simone Inzaghi's team cruised to this year's championship, winning the Scudetto with five matches remaining by beating AC Milan in a thrilling local derby.

Oaktree, which manages $192 billion in assets, said they are "committed to working closely with Inter Milan's current management team, partners, the league and governing bodies to ensure the Club is positioned for success on and off the pitch".

Inter ended up in the hands of Oaktree in a manner similar to the way another US fund, Elliott Management, took control of their local rivals Milan in 2018.

Elliott became Milan's owners when Chinese businessman Li Yonghong was unable to repay a loan he had taken out when he bought the club from the late Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest the previous year.