After a dramatic change of heart last December by Inter Milan‘s Chinese owner Steven Zhang at the eleventh hour, the Public Investment Fund, sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, is back in contention to acquire the club.
The Zhang family is now more open to the idea of selling off the Serie A club and have solicited the help of US financier Goldman Sachs to find a suitable potential buyer before the end of the year. A bid of $1.2B should be deemed sufficient.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli had earlier advised his companion against selling to the Public Investment Fund because it was against the principles laid by the Super League Company, of which Inter was a founding member. With this in mind, Steven Zhang hesitated to sell.
But with the exponential debt increasing to around $703M, the club’s finances are in tatters and Zhang is feeling the pressure which has caused to him to give his consent to Goldman Sachs to search for a potential buyer.
Public Investment Fund financial advisors have been in contact with Goldman Sachs to strike a deal for about a month now. Negotiations on a possible deal have also taken place in Milan with Zhang partly taking part in them. The plan is to reach an agreement during the winter and an announcement on a potential new buyer is likely to be made during the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar.
I understand that the Saudi Central Bank will also play a significant role in a potential takeover though its role is not yet identified. SAMA likely to be a financial backer, providing the Sovereign wealth fund with the capital to invest in Inter according to several sources.
Details of a possible leadership structure and the division of shares are still unknown as things stand and with a few months to go, more light will be thrown on the subject.
Despite sports washing claims, the Public Investment Fund’s unquenchable appetite to leave a footprint on European football is not going to be extinguished indeed after a successful takeover of Tyneside club Newcastle United and the forthcoming takeover of Inter Milan imminent this coming winter.