Thursday, 8 July 2010

Roma up for sale

Roma have officially been put up for sale by the club's owners as part of an agreement to wipe out debts.

The preliminary deal between the Sensi family, who own the capital club through Compagnia Italpetroli, and major creditor UniCredit was reached following a final round of talks tonight.

The Sensi family will put its 67 per cent stake in the club into a new company, Newco Roma, which will then be put up for sale by the bank.

UniCredit, which is owed around €325million by Compagnia Italpetroli, will hold a 49% stake in Newco Roma, while the Sensi family will own 51%.

Rosella Sensi will remain as President and chief executive of the club until it is sold.

"The primary objective will be to go ahead with the valuation and the sale of the AS Roma shareholding," said a statement from Italpetroli.

Rosella Sensi, who succeeded her father Franco as President of the club when he passed away in 2008, said the agreement would "safeguard Roma".

"This deal has been reached, above all to safeguard Roma, which is something that matters to the city of Rome and which we all hold very dear," said Sensi.

Both parties will meet again on July 20 to finalise terms of the deal, which is set to see the bank additionally obtain the majority of Italpetroli's real estate and oil storage and distribution facilities.

Roma, who finished second in Serie A last season and were runners-up in the Coppa Italia, have been the subject of takeover talk for more than three years, but until now the Sensi family have been unable to offload its stake in the club.

Bids from billionaire financier George Soros and a Swiss consortium never came to fruition and Italpetroli clung on against the odds.

Soros and the Swiss consortium have not shown renewed interest while Italian pharmaceutical magnate Francesco Angelini has never put forward concrete plans for a bid after saying he wanted to buy a majority stake in the club.

The Sensi family had been at the helm of Roma for 17 years and won numerous trophies during that time, most notably the Scudetto in 2001 – only the club’s third since they were formed in 1927.

The Giallorossi face Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana final when the new Italian football season kicks off on August 21 in Milan before the new Serie A season starts a week later.

Source: Reuters

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