Soccer-Italy's Inter Milan secure financing deal with Oaktree - Metro US

Soccer-Italy’s Inter Milan secure financing deal with Oaktree

FILE PHOTO: Serie A - Inter Milan v Sampdoria

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian soccer club Inter Milan secured a deal to get financing from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management to help weather the coronavirus pandemic storm, Oaktree said on Thursday.

Inter, crowned Serie A champions this month for the first time in 11 years, have been hard hit by fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the club’s owners have been discussing a deal for months to shore up the finances.

Chinese retail giant Suning has controlled Inter Milan since 2016 through Luxembourg-based vehicle Great Horizon Sarl which holds 68.5%.

Under the deal, Great Horizon will receive three-year funding of 275 million euros ($336 million) from Oaktree, two sources close to the matter said.

Part of the financing will be used to buy out, at a later date, the minority stake of LionRock, the sources said. Hong Kong-based investment firm LionRock owns 31%.

Oaktree is then expected to get a minority stake in the club, the sources said, adding Great Horizon would pledge Inter shares by way of guarantee for the package.

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

The club’s CEO Giuseppe Marotta said last week Inter had to cut their wage bill to keep their business sustainable amid the pandemic.

The “Nerazzurri” posted a 102 million euro loss in the financial year ended June 30.

($1 = 0.8184 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Elisa Anzolin, additional reporting by Francesca Landini, writing by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Ed Osmond)

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