Friday, October 7, 2022

AC Milan sale: Boston Red Sox stakeholders RedBird Capital joined by New York Yankees in Serie A acquisition

AC Milan and American private investment firm RedBird Capital have finally announced that the transition to new ownership is now official. Elliott Management handed the team over to new ownership led by American Gerry Cardinale for €1.2 billion. Also, amusingly, as it was revealed on Tuesday, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will be working together in Italian soccer. Yankees will join RedBird Capital in the takeover while RedBird also own a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Sox as well as Liverpool in the Premier League. 

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“RedBird will continue to invest in all the key areas that will advance the Club’s sporting and commercial interests, building on last season’s achievements that culminated in the club’s Serie A championship,” the group said in a statement. “RedBird’s experience in operating and building global sports businesses will ensure that the next chapter in AC Milan’s storied history will build on its current momentum. Priority areas of focus include supporting the club’s sporting and business leadership to ensure that the team is consistently competitive at the highest levels of football; ensuring that it has the infrastructure and facilities befitting one of the world’s most prominent sporting organizations; and strengthening the Club’s women’s and youth teams, as well as its charitable arm, Fondazione Milan”. 

Gerry Cardinale, RedBird Founder and Managing Partner, said, “Our vision for Milan is clear: we will support our talented players, coaches and staff to deliver success on the pitch and allow our fans to share in the extraordinary experiences of this historic club.  We will look to leverage our global sports and media network, our analytics expertise, our track record in sports stadium developments and hospitality to deliver one goal – maintaining Milan’s place at the summit of European and world football.”

The deal will also see Yankee Global Enterprises (YGE), owner of the New York Yankees, one of the world’s most valuable sports franchises, enter into a strategic partnership with the club with a minority equity stake in AC Milan. RedBird has a longstanding relationship with the Yankees and the Steinbrenner family, with whom it is a co-owner of the Yankees Entertainment Sports (YES) Network, the most-watched regional sports network in the United States.

On the partnership with YGE, Mr. Cardinale said “We have a multi-decade relationship with the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family that has resulted in the creation of some of the most successful businesses in sports, entertainment and hospitality.  We are very pleased to continue our partnership with them and will look to explore opportunities together to broaden our fan reach and expand commercial opportunities that are only available to franchises that operate at the highest levels of sports globally.”

The completion of the purchase of Milan takes RedBird’s assets under management to approximately $7.5 billion and adds AC Milan to RedBird’s portfolio of global sports and entertainment investments that include Fenway Sports Group (Liverpool FC, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins), Toulouse FC, the Rajasthan Royals, the YES Network, the SpringHill Company, Skydance Media, the XFL, OneTeam Partners and Dream Sports.

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