Home > Overseas Investment News > Inter Milan-Suning Deal: Chinese Appliance Retailer Buys 70% Stake In Italian Soccer Giant
Inter Milan-Suning Deal: Chinese Appliance Retailer Buys 70% Stake In Italian Soccer Giant
Brief:Suning, China's biggest retailer, announced its purchase of a 68.55 precent stake in Inter Milan, worth some $307 million.
Mauro Icardi (L) of FC Internazionale Milano celebrates after scoring the opening goal with
team mate Stevan Jovetic during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano
and Empoli FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 7, 2016, in Milan, Italy.
Chinese home appliance retailer Suning Commerce Group has bought a controlling stake in Italian soccer giant Internazionale, also known as Inter Milan, in a move seen as highlighting both the growing global ambitions of Chinese companies and the determination of the country’s President Xi Jinping to make China a major soccer power.
Suning, China’s biggest retailer, announced its purchase of a 68.55 percent stake in Inter, worth some $307 million, in a glitzy ceremony broadcast live online from its headquarters in the eastern city of Nanjing. Amid blaring Italian pop music, on a stage adorned with the slogan “More international, More exciting,” Suning chairman Zhang Jindong and Inter’s president and former majority owner Erick Thohir toasted the deal with champagne, as TV hosts spoke of a "historic moment for Chinese sport," while former Inter star Javier Zanetti looked on.
Zhang said he planned to make Inter, which has not won a trophy for five years, "great again" –  and vowed to  "inject a steady stream of capital investment" into the club, news reported. 
The acquisition is the latest – and biggest – in a growing trend of Chinese investment in European soccer. Last year China’s richest man, Wanda Group property tycoon Wang Jianlin, bought a 20 percent stake in top Spanish club Atletico Madrid. Chinese investors last year also bought a 13 percent stake in English club Manchester City, while Chinese owners have also taken over lesser Spanish club Espanyol, and most recently, English second-tier team Aston Villa.
But Suning’s assumption of majority ownership at Inter, one of the biggest and most historic names in world soccer, is on another level. Analysts said it reflected a coalescing of factors – the wealth of some of China’s biggest companies, despite the country’s slowing economy; the relative strength of China’s currency the yuan against the euro; and equally significantly, a national obsession with soccer, which was highlighted by President Xi Jinping's announcement last year of a national soccer blueprint, with the aim of hosting and one day winning the FIFA World Cup.

International Business Times

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