Massimo Moratti, owner of Serie A giant Internazionale, has said that there is no final deal as of yet, but that a sale is of a portion of the controlling stake in the club is certainly imminent. Moratti has been in talks with Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir for the last several months, and told reporters that another month of negotiations would be needed in order to iron out the final details of the deal (Reuters).
Italian football has not seen the level of financial prosperity of other leagues like the Premier League or the Bundesliga in recent years due to several corruption scandals and unruly fan bases which have caused attendance numbers to decline. Another limiting factor is that many of the clubs, including Inter and their neighbors A.C. Milan, do not own their stadiums. Many of the stadiums are out-dated and have not been updated to meet the needs of the average modern-day fan to create the ultimate football going experience. A.C. Milan and Inter both play their home games in the San Siro stadium, which was originally built in 1925, and is owned by the local authorities.
Moratti took over from Ernesto Pellegrini in 1995 as president of Inter, and has helped steer the club to 5 Serie A titles, 4 Coppa Italia titles, 4 Supercoppa Italiana titles, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League title, and 1 FIFA Club World Cup title. He has also been known for bringing some of the world’s best known players to the club, including Ronaldo, Roberto Baggio, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Wesley Sneijder.
Thohir has invested in a number of sports ventures around the world, including the Philadelphia 76ers, various Asian basketball leagues and teams, as well as storied MLS side D.C. United. Now the 43 year old is looking to invest a reported €350 million ($472 million) in Inter Milan, which would gain him a controlling stake of 75% ownership in the club.
Moratti is looking for an exit from the financially struggling Italian side, answering reporters in Paris when asked if he would stay at the club as chairman upon completion of the sale,
I don’t know. With this situation… no, I don’t think so.
Inter are currently operating at a loss of -€70 million (-$89 million) according to Forbes, and are an estimated €300 million ($405 million) in debt. The club finished a disappointing 9th in the Serie A last season causing them to miss out on the cash cow that is the UEFA Champions League.
According to Forbes‘ latest valuation of the world’s top football clubs in April of 2013, Thohir would be overspending for the 75% controlling stake ownership in Inter by approximately €113 million ($153 million). Forbes valued Inter at €316 ($427 million), ranked the 14th most expensive club in the world, behind Borussia Dortmund and ahead of Olympique Lyonnais. If we take 75% of the Forbes defined club value, we get €237 ($320 million), which begs the question ‘what is he thinking?’ The €350 million price tag is a rumored number that has been reported to be Thohir’s ceiling for what he would be willing to pay for the club and there are many other calculations to take into consideration in the valuation of a club and what the selling price should be.But just using these figures as a barometer, it would appear that Thohir may be setting himself up for an overspend.