RedBird Capital Partners is an American private equity firm that has shown heavy interest in European football, having invested heavily into English club Liverpool and second-tier side Toulouse. Recently they shifted their attention to Italy by clinching the biggest deal yet with recently crowned Serie A champion AC Milan.
The AC Milan ownership has been a long and winding road. The club was previously under Elliott Management, another New York investment fund who took over after former owner Li Yonghong defaulted on €300 million worth of high interest debt.
When RedBird looked to expand their European football portfolio, they started with Toulouse. The French club recently won promotion from the second division and will now compete for spots at the top of the table in Ligue 1 against clubs like PSG and Monaco, among many others.
The investment fund saw an opportunity when talks between Elliott Management and Investcorp continued for months without producing a deal. This led them to take matters into their own hands.
The founder of RedBird, Gerry Cardinale swooped in with a €1.2 billion deal to acquire the club. Previous owners Elliott Management not only retained a minority stake, but was also provided with €600 million of the funding.
The Rossoneri won their first Scudetto after eleven years under the guidance and transfer decisions of manager Stefano Piolo, who was assisted by technical director Paolo Maldini in leading this historic victory. As a result, RedBird has plenty of plans for AC Milan.
Following the completion of his first season with the club, Cardinale has met and discussed an extension with Paolo Maldini to continue working as director.
RedBird has plans to build a new stadium and despite its history as one of Italy’s most iconic grounds, it is becoming increasingly outdated in comparison with modern-day football stadiums where clubs are now remodeling or moving due their need to maximize revenue streams.
“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.”
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