ITALY NEWS

In American hands?

DiBenedetto closes in on AS Roma
(issue no. 140/2011 / April 7, 2011)

An American consortium will likely own a controlling stake in one of Italy's most popular soccer teams competing in the Italian national league, AS Roma. Three-time Serie A champions, the AS Roma football club has been up for sale since July 2010, when owner Italpetroli, itself owned by the Sensi family, reached an agreement with the Italian bank Unicredit to cancel the oil firm's 325 million euro of debt.

 

The American consortium, headed by Italian-American entrepreneur Thomas R. DiBenedetto, recently signed a preliminary agreement with the Sensi family and Unicredit to buy a 60 percent controlling stake in AS Roma, with Unicredit retaining 40 percent of the club's ownership. For the deal to go through, however, the American consortium will eventually have to sell its stakes in the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club in order to conform to Uefa rules, which do not allow an individual or firm to have stakes in two clubs in the Champions League or the Europa League. 

‘Our aim is to make Roma one of the top clubs in the world,' DiBenedetto said in an interview with the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport. ‘We want a team that the city will always be proud of, but of course this will take time.'

 

AS Roma is currently in sixth pace in the Serie A ranking; it is also one of the Italian league's top earning clubs, racking in some 146 million euro in revenues every year. Expected sometime in April, the final sale would make AS Roma the first Serie A club to fall under foreign ownership.

 

 

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