ROME (AP) – The New York Yankees and a Los Angeles-based fund that includes LeBron James are teaming up with Redbird Capital Partners to invest in AC Milan, the Italian soccer club, for 1.2 billion euros ($1.2 billion). The championship is close to a purchase agreement. The Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Gary Cardinale, Redbird’s founder and managing partner, announced in June a preliminary agreement to buy Milan from fellow US firm Elite Management, which expires in September.
Officials close to Redbird would not comment on the latest report when contacted by The Associated Press but said an announcement would come in the next few days. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the final deal has not yet been announced.
Milan, a seven-time European champion, is coming off its first Italian championship in 11 years.
The Yankees, 27-time World Series champions, are already involved in Major League Soccer as co-owners of New York City FC Manchester City. New York City FC plays some of its home games at Yankee Stadium.
Main Street Advisors, a fund backed by James, also counts rapper Drake among its partners, as well as English Premier League clubs Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox.
James and Drake will be passive investors in Milan through the fund and will not participate directly.
Redbird also has a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns Liverpool and the Red Sox. Champions League rules prohibit two clubs in the competition being under the same ownership to protect the integrity of the field. UEFA will likely judge the level of influence the Redbirds have over decision-making at Liverpool.
Redbird will become Milan’s fourth owner in five years.
Elliott has owned Milan since 2018 after the club’s former Chinese owner failed to repay part of a loan. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi controlled Milan for more than 30 years before selling it to a Chinese group in 2017.
Inter Milan, Roma, Fiorentina and Bologna are among the other foreign-owned teams in Serie A.
After failing to qualify for Europe’s top competition for seven consecutive years – which included a one-year UEFA ban for breaching financial monitoring rules – Milan are playing in the Champions League for the second consecutive season. It could earn the club around 100 million euros ($100 million) in UEFA prize money and help restore the club’s global brand.
Milan’s squad includes 40-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic and fellow striker Olivier Giroud.