Bloomberg: AC Milan, the seven-time European soccer champion owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is weighing a sale, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
Lazard Ltd. has sent marketing documents to potential buyers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public.
A spokesman for Berlusconi’s Fininvest SpA, which controls AC Milan, said the team isn’t for sale. He asked not to be identified. Judi Mackey, a spokeswoman for Lazard, didn’t return a call seeking comment.
“It’s an absolutely great brand,” said Sal Galatioto, founder of Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York-based sports advisory firm that has represented, among others, Tom Ricketts in his $845 million purchase of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co. in 2009.
AC Milan, valued at $945 million by Forbes Magazine, is 10th in Italy’s top division. The club is 34 points behind first-place Juventus and six behind fifth-place Inter Milan, which last year sold a 70 percent stake to a group of Indonesian investors led by Erick Thohir. Lazard represented the seller, Massimo Moratti.
The team and Inter Milan each have 18 Serie A titles, placing them second behind Juventus. AC Milan is the sixth most-valuable soccer club in the world and the most expensive in Italy’s top division, according to Forbes’ valuation in April 2013.
Milan trails European competitors in game-day revenue because the San Siro, the 88-year-old stadium it shares with Inter, doesn’t have the money-making amenities of newer facilities, said Galatioto, who said he expects potential buyers to come from Asia.
The team’s revenue rose to 263.5 million euros, according to accounting firm Deloitte’s sports business group. Milan earned 51.4 million euros from UEFA’s Champions League.
As for AC Milan, even after spending that brought in Italian national team striker Mario Balotelli and Brazil’s Robinho, the club is in danger of missing the Champions League, the regional competition for top clubs.
Berlusconi, the billionaire three-time premier, bought the team whose official name is Associazione Calcio Milan in 1986. His Milan-based holding company, Fininvest, controls Italy broadcaster Mediaset and publisher Arnoldo Mondadori. He serves as honorary club president, and his daughter, Barbara, joined the board in 2011.