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American Firm Oaktree Assumes Ownership of Serie A Champions Inter Milan Following Loan Default

American Firm Oaktree Assumes Ownership of Serie A Champions Inter Milan Following Loan Defaultillustration

Oaktree, an American investment firm, has officially taken control of Serie A champions Inter Milan, marking the conclusion of Suning and Steven Zhang's eight-year tenure.

The transition occurred after Suning failed to meet the repayment deadline for a debt totaling nearly 400 million euros ($434 million) on Tuesday.

The debt originated from a loan, including accrued interest, acquired three years ago, following Inter's previous league victory and anticipation of substantial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"On May 22, 2024, , LP-managed funds assumed ownership of Inter, following the expiration of a three-year loan granted by Oaktree to Inter's holding company, totaling approximately 395 million euros," stated Oaktree in a communication to various news outlets.

This development transpired just three days after Inter celebrated its 20th league title amidst jubilant scenes at San Siro.

Inter now joins a list of clubs under American ownership, including AC Milan, Atalanta, Fiorentina, Roma, Genoa, and newly-promoted Parma. Additionally, Venezia, an American-owned Serie B team, is vying for promotion.

While initial speculation surrounded the possibility of Oaktree selling Inter, managing director Alejandro Cano emphasized a commitment to the club's long-term prosperity.

"As new owners, we acknowledge our responsibility to Inter Milan's community, heritage, and tradition. Our primary focus is on ensuring operational and financial stability," stated Cano. "We respect Inter Milan's management team and are eager to collaborate closely with them to provide robust leadership for the club."

In 2018, AC Milan was acquired by American fund Elliott Management after the previous owner, Li Yonghong, failed to meet a loan repayment deadline.

Following Milan's Serie A triumph in 2022, Elliott retained ownership for five years before selling to RedBird Capital Partners.

Chinese retail giant Suning assumed control of Inter in 2016, succeeding a consortium led by Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, who had helmed the club for three years. Prior to Thohir's tenure, Massimo Moratti oversaw Inter since 1995 before selling a majority to Thohir.

Inter's ascendancy under Suning culminated in its first Serie A title in over a decade, achieved five years after the acquisition. The club also secured two Italian Cup trophies, three Italian Super Cups, and reached the Champions League final in the preceding season.

"Securing the second star was a significant milestone for the club. Our objective is to leverage this success to establish a clear pathway for sustained growth and achievement," Cano affirmed.

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