Hedge fund billionaire — and passionate soccer fan — Paul Singer is the new owner of AC Milan — one of the most storied franchises in soccer.
Singer’s Elliott Management gained control of the 119-year-old team after Asian businessman Li Yonghong defaulted on a loan payment owed to the $35 billion hedge fund.
Elliott loaned Li nearly $400 million last year to help him buy the team, which plays in Italy’s Serie A, the country’s top soccer league.
Li bought AC Milan from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for $864 million.
Within hours of securing ownership, Singer said he planned to invest $66 million to stabilize the team’s finances.
“Financial support, stability and proper oversight are necessary prerequisites for on-field success and a world-class fan experience,” Singer said.
Li was expected to make a $37 million payment on the debt on Friday but defaulted, setting the stage for Singer’s hedge fund to take control of the embattled team.
AC Milan was banned from European competition in June due to a breach of the Union of European Football Associations’ financial fair play rules. The team is appealing the decision.
While Singer is known for taking on tough turnaround tasks, the transformation of AC Milan may be of special interest to the hedgie whose love of soccer cropped up in his successful battle against Arconic last year.
During the battle in April 2017, Arconic’s then-chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld sent a vaguely threatening letter to Singer insinuating the hedgie partied to excess during the 2006 World Cup.
“Elliott looks forward to the challenge of realizing the club’s potential and returning the club to the pantheon of top European football clubs where it rightly belongs,” Singer said in a statement.
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