RedBird Capital Partners has shown heavy interest in European football, having invested in England club Liverpool and second-tier team Toulouse. Recently they shifted their attention to Italy by securing AC Milan as one of the biggest deals yet with the recently crowned Serie A champions.
The AC Milan club was under the management of yet another New York based investment fund Elliott Management, which took over after former owner Li Yonghong defaulted on €300 million worth high-interest debt.
RedBird’s first project was Toulouse, a French club that recently won the second division to earn a promotion into France’s top flight. The hunt for more European football teams continued as Redbird looked at clubs throughout Europe with executives investing two years in looking at different places until they found what was right for them.
The fund saw an opportunity when talks between Elliott Management and Investcorp continued for months without producing a deal.
Gerry Cardinale, founder and managing partner of RedBird, swooped in with a €1.2 billion deal to acquire the club. As a result, Elliott Management was provided with €600 million of the funding and will retain a minority stake.
The Italian giants have been revitalized under new management. After more than a decade-long drought, they won their first Scudetto in eleven years thanks to manager Stefano Piolo and technical director Paolo Maldini’s astute decision making skills. RedBird seeks to help the club maintain its momentum.
Although there were concerns regarding Maldini’s role following the takeover, Cardinale has met with the director to discuss his extension with the club.
The stadium has not been remodeled in years, and RedBird plans on building a new, state-of the art venue that will increase club revenue streams while also making matches more exciting for supporters.
“A brand of this scale, like AC Milan, should have infrastructure that is indicative of its football prowess and global potential,” said Cardinale. “We’ve had a lot of experience with stadium projects in the U.S. Milan and Italy deserve a world-class stadium that houses the best of sports and entertainment on a global scale.”