MILAN — Elliott Management has promised to inject 50 million euros ($66 million) in capital after taking over Italian club AC Milan.
Former owner Li Yonghong missed Friday’s deadline to repay part of a loan worth more than 300 million euros from the U.S.-based hedge fund and Elliott has repossessed the holding company in Luxembourg that Li used to buy seven-time European champion Milan in April 2017.
"Ownership and control of the holding company that owns AC Milan has today (Tuesday) been transferred to funds advised by Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited ("Elliott")," read a statement by Elliott.
"This transfer has occurred as a result of steps taken to enforce Elliott’s security interests after the previous owner of AC Milan defaulted on its debt obligations to Elliott."
The fund had been expected to sell the club on, with a number of parties reportedly interested in buying the beleaguered Serie A outfit.
Italian-American businessman Rocco Commisso — who owns North American Soccer League team the New York Cosmos — said last weekend that he was still keen to buy Milan, while the Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs also said it was negotiating.
However, Elliott appears to be planning for the long term with founder and co-CEO Paul Singer pledging to return the club "to the pantheon of top European football clubs where it rightly belongs."
"Elliott fully appreciates the challenge and responsibility that ownership of this great institution entails," the statement said. "Elliott is pleased not only to support the club during this difficult time, but also by the challenge of achieving ambitious objectives in the future via the on-field success of coach (Gennaro) Gattuso and his players.
"As first measures, Elliott intends to inject 50 million euros of equity capital to stabilize the club’s finances, and plans to inject further capital over time to continue to fund AC Milan’s transformation."
Milan last year spent more than 200 million euros (then nearly $250 million) on new players amid questions over the financial stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased the club from Silvio Berlusconi for $800 million.
Milan finished sixth in Serie A to qualify for the Europa League but has been banned for one year by UEFA for overspending and breaching financial fair play regulations. It is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Elliott’s statement added: "Having assumed control, Elliott’s vision for AC Milan is straightforward: to create financial stability and establish sound management; to achieve long-term success for AC Milan by focusing on the fundamentals and ensuring that the club is well-capitalized; and to run a sustainable operating model that respects UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations."
The Milan board will meet on Thursday to call a shareholders’ meeting.
The new composition of the board should be decided on and approved by the end of next week and could include former Italy and Milan captain Paolo Maldini.