China’s retail giant Suning Group has owned a 70 percent stake in Italian football club Inter Milan, a deal worth 270 million euros, Suning Group announced here on Monday.
Suning Sports, a newly established company under Suning group, has become the biggest shareholder of Inter Milan by acquiring 70 percent shares of the Italian club, the club announced in the press conference.
“Partnering up with Inter Milan, a club with a long history and great results, is not only an honor, but also a great responsibility, a mission too, for Suning,” Zhang Jindong, president of Suning Group, said.
“Suning has been taking a bigger role in the Chinese sports industry, which is set to be the country’s leading industry in five years.”
“The ever growing Chinese market will create space for development for Inter Milan,” Zhang added.
Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir had previously owned a 70 percent stake in Inter Milan with Moratti family having 30 percent.
After Suning’s acquisition, Thohir will become Inter’s second largest shareholder with 30 percent of shares.
Founded in 1908, Inter Milan has won 18 domestic titles and three UEFA Champions league trophies.
Suning Group, based in China’s eastern city of Nanjing, posted more than 300 billion yuan ($45.6 billion) in its 2015 revenues and is one of the top retail companies in China.
The group dived into football when it bought Jiangsu Sainty last December and poured in more than 100 million euros during the winter transfer window to build a star-studded squad in Chinese Super league (CSL), which includes the record-breaking 50-million-euro signing, Alex Texeira, and former Chelsea midfielder Ramires.
Suning is among dozens of Chinese investors with evergrowing interest in football.
Chinese entrepreneurs have already acquired minority stakes in England’s Manchester City and Spain’s Athletic Madrid.
China’s listed company Rastar also bought a major stake in Spanish club Espanyol last year and businessman Xia Jiantong recently bought English championship league side Aston Villa.
Story by Xinhua