Chinese retail giant Suning closing in on deal for Italian football club Internazionale
Reports in Italy say company will purchase 20 per cent stake in Serie A side
Chinese retail giant Suning has confirmed it is interested in buying a stake in storied Italian football club Internazionale, according to Italian reports, the latest move by mainland companies into soccer.
“Suning Investment Holding Group and Suning Sports are interested in a strategic cooperation with Internazionale Milano Football Club,” read a statement, reported in the Italian press.
“The two parties are examining in depth the options to set up a broad partnership in the football environment and in the development of football in China, and they do not rule out the possibility of reciprocal investments.
“Once the contents of the cooperation have been established, it will be made official in China. We believe that international cooperation will provide a great boost for the promotion of the Suning team in Milan, while also boosting Inter, and Chinese football as a whole, which is very important for us.
“Our visit in Milan was of an excellent level, and we hope that this exchange with Inter, along with an experience of observation and learning, can improve the operational ability of Suning in the world of football, with the final objective of promoting the development of Chinese football.”
Zhang Jindong, Suning Commerce Group chief executive, was in Milan at the weekend to watch the Serie A game between Internazionale and Udinese.
Inter are owned by Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir and although the club’s former president Massimo Moratti retains a minority share, Italian media reports claim he could sell up.
It is claimed that Suning – who own Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning – want to buy a 20 per cent stake in the Italian giants.
Football-italia.net claimed that Brazilian star Alex Teixeira – signed by Jiangsu for €50 million in the winter – could go on loan to Inter as part of the deal.
Internazionale’s city rivals AC Milan are also in talks with Chinese investors, belived to be led by Baidu’s Robin Li Yanhong.
Meanwhile, Spanish sports paper AS has claimed that Guangzhou Evergrande are close to buying an clubs in the English Premier League and Major League Soccer.
Wanda Group started China’s move into European football by buying a stake in Atletico Madrid, while a consortium of investors led by CMC Capital bought part of Manchester City last year.
The moves come as president Xi Jinping has urged the country to become a football superpower.