MILAN (Reuters) – AS Roma said on Monday it was in talks with a group led by U.S. billionaire Dan Friedkin about a sale of the Serie A soccer club, though no formal deal had yet been agreed.
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Champions League – AS Roma Training – Trigoria Training Ground, Rome, Italy – April 23, 2018 General view during training REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Europe’s top soccer clubs have drawn in big money from some of the world’s richest investors over the last decade, as the game attracts more fans in lucrative markets such as Asia, the United States and the Middle East.
The Financial Times reported on Monday that a consortium led by Friedkin was set to buy AS Roma for 750 million euros ($840 million), including debt, a record valuation for a Serie A team.
Shares in AS Roma shot up more than 9% at the open in Milan and were up 4.3% at 0905 GMT.
“Any deal with Group Friedkin is subject to the positive outcome of the legal due diligence process on the AS Roma group,” the club said in a statement.
AS Roma last changed hands in 2012 when it was taken over by a group of U.S. investors led by James Pallotta, who became the club’s president.
AS Roma has failed to revive its fortunes under Pallotta, winning the last of its three Serie A titles back in 2001.
It is currently playing in the Europa League, the second tier European club competition, after finishing sixth in Serie A last season – when the Agnelli-owned Juventus won its eight title in a row.
AS Roma’s current owners have been trying to sell it for a while, holding talks with various potential buyers, amid growing frustration with local authorities over a stalled project to build a new stadium.
Assets owned by the Friedkin Group range from one of the world’s largest independent Toyota distributors to a number of luxury resorts.
This deal is the latest by a U.S. investor in soccer, and comes after Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi-controlled owner sold a $500 million stake to U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake in November.
Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton