Inter taken over by US investment fund Oaktree Capital

By Sports Desk May 22, 2024

Investment fund Oaktree Capital Management has taken ownership of Serie A champions Inter after a missed €395million payment from the club's majority shareholder.

Granted by Oaktree in 2021 to the Luxembourg-based vehicle through which Chinese conglomerate Suning 002024.SZ controlled Inter, the loan was guaranteed by a stake in the club.

That gave Oaktree, which specialises in providing rescue funding to struggling firms, the potential right to take control of the club in the event of a default.

"Oaktree is committed to working closely with Inter's current management team, partners, the league and governing bodies to ensure the club is positioned for success on and off the pitch," it said in a statement.

A person close to the matter said Oaktree, which has only limited previous involvement in sports franchises, was not planning to sell Inter immediately and was prepared to be a "patient investor."

The upheaval off the field contrasts with the club's success on it, with Inter having last month secured their 20th Serie A league title and the second under Suning's ownership.

There was no immediate comment from Suning, which bought a majority stake in the club in 2016 in one of the highest-profile forays by a Chinese business into European soccer.

Since then, Chinese authorities have imposed curbs over overseas spending in sport and Suning has been hit by the COVID-19 downturn.

That prompted Suning three years ago to get a €275m emergency financing package from Oaktree, which helped Inter to weather the pandemic crisis.

In a letter to fans published on the club's website on Saturday, Inter chairman Steven Zhang, the son of Suning's founder Zhang Jindong, warned the club's stability was at risk as attempts to find an agreement with Oaktree had failed.

Oaktree's move mirrors the takeover of Inter's rivals Milan by U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management in 2018.

Elliott took control of Milan after Chinese businessman Li Yonghong missed a payment to the club.

Related items

  • Germany 5-1 Scotland: Five-star hosts make emphatic start at Euro 2024 Germany 5-1 Scotland: Five-star hosts make emphatic start at Euro 2024

    Germany enjoyed a wonderful start to their home Euro 2024 campaign on Friday as they thrashed 10-man Scotland 5-1 in Munich.

    A huge contingent of Scotland fans packed into the Allianz Arena in hope of witnessing their country's first major tournament victory since Euro 1996, but they were stunned into silence as Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala put Germany two goals up inside 19 minutes.

    Ryan Porteous was then sent off for a dismal lunge on Ilkay Gundogan shortly before half-time, allowing Kai Havertz to kill the game as a contest from the penalty spot. 

    Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to score a tremendous fourth for Julian Nagelsmann's hosts, though Antonio Rudiger's own goal gave Scotland's supporters some small comfort late on.

    However, Emre Can – a late call-up to the squad – added further gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time, giving Germany the biggest ever win in an opening match at the Euros. 

    Germany needed just 10 minutes to go ahead, with Angus Gunn tipping Wirtz's low strike onto the post and in after Joshua Kimmich found the Bayer Leverkusen star unmarked on the edge of the area.

    Within nine further minutes, Germany were two up. Gundogan slipped Havertz into the area, and he kept his cool to tee up Musiala for a slammed finish high into the net.

    Gunn made a reflex save to keep out Gundogan's header, but Porteous caught the Barcelona midfielder with a high challenge from the rebound, causing referee Clement Turpin to award a penalty and brandish a red card following VAR review. 

    Havertz stepped up to take the spot-kick in first-half stoppage time, striking it straight down the middle as Gunn dived left to make it a case of damage limitation for Scotland. 

    Rudiger's 35-yard strike had Gunn at full stretch early in the second half, then Wirtz sent a half-volley over when presented with a golden chance at the back post.

    The outstanding Musiala was involved again as Germany got their fourth after 68 minutes, linking up with Gundogan before Fullkrug blasted his finish into the top-right corner.

    Scotland pulled one back with three minutes left as Rudiger put through his own net after a deep free-kick caused a goalmouth scramble, but Can restored Germany's four-goal cushion at the death, curling a 20-yard strike out of Gunn's reach and into the bottom-right corner.

    Wirtz and Musiala Germany's shining lights

    With an average age of 29 years and 22 days, Nagelsmann named Germany's oldest starting lineup for a World Cup or Euros match since a 1-1 draw with Romania at Euro 2000 (30 years, 86 days).

    However, in Wirtz and Musiala, Germany also started two players aged 21 or under at the Euros for the first time since 2004, when Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger faced Czechia. 

    Their two young guns led the way.

    Wirtz's strike made him the youngest player to ever score the opening goal at a European Championship (21 years, 42 days), but Musiala – just over two months Wirtz's senior – refused to be upstaged as he capped a flowing move with a powerful finish for 2-0.

    This is the first time two players aged 21 or under have scored for the same team in a Euros match.

    Porteous red caps miserable Scotland start

    Scotland arrived in Munich targeting their first Euros victory since 1996, having only won two of their previous nine matches at the tournament (two draws, five defeats).

    The gulf in quality between the sides was soon apparent, though, as Germany became just the second team to net three first-half goals in a Euros match. France have previously done so twice, scoring three against Belgium in 1984 and four versus Iceland in 2016.

    Things barely improved in the second half, with Scotland conceding at least five goals in a competitive match for the first time since November 2003, when they were beaten 6-0 by the Netherlands in a Euro 2004 qualifier. 

    While this was always likely to be Scotland's toughest assignment, they will also feel the consequences of their display against Switzerland, with Porteous suspended.

    He is the first Scotland player to be sent off at a major tournament since Craig Burley versus Morocco at the 1998 World Cup.

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Mou and Fergie link up, Pickford's quiz and Pavard the photographer Euro 2024 social round-up: Mou and Fergie link up, Pickford's quiz and Pavard the photographer

    Euro 2024 hosts Germany got off to a flying start as they comprehensively dispatched Scotland 5-1 on Friday.

    Goals from Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz and Niclas Fullkrug blew Scotland away at the Allianz Arena.

    But while the football entertained, there was also plenty of action on social media.

    Here's a pick of the best posts.

    The special... two?

    Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson enjoyed a great rivalry on the touchline down the years, but there was no sign of that as the two watched on from the stands in Munich.

    Unfortunately for Ferguson, Scotland were on the receiving end of a hammering.

    We can only wonder what these two greats had to say about Scotland's sorry performance, though surely they will have been full of praise for Germany.

    Honouring a great

    Franz Beckenbauer passed away in January, and ahead of the opening game, his wife Heidi led a touching tribute to der Kaiser.

    Moral support

    Nathan Patterson is not fit to feature for Scotland, but the Everton full-back has travelled out to Germany to support his team-mates.

    Unfortunately for Scotland, it didn't quite work out, and Patterson will be needing to provide plenty of moral support after their heavy defeat in Munich.

    Pickford gets quizzed

    England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was fulfilling his media duties on Friday, and he stopped by to answer some fan questions ahead of the Three Lions' opener against Serbia.

    Pickford was quizzed on how he copes with the pressure as kick-off approaches - "Enjoy the moment", he said - while revealing former England shot-stopper Joe Hart, who retired last month, has served as an inspiration.

    Young guns exciting Schweinsteiger 

    Bastian Schweinsteiger helped Germany to World Cup glory in 2014, so it feels like he is pretty well placed to pass judgement on up and coming stars.

    And when asked on X for the players he was most excited to see in action at Euro 2024, the former Bayern Munich midfielder picked out Florian Wirtz, Cole Palmer and Rafael Leao.

    Wirtz certainly delivered, as he starred in Germany's big win over Scotland. Will Palmer and Leao be equally as impressive for England and Portugal respectively?

    Picture perfect

    Olivier Giroud is one handsome devil, so it's no surprise that he's a photographer's dream.

    That being said, it's rare that the person behind the camera is one of his team-mates, but Giroud could only smile, and offer a cheeky pose, as Benjamin Pavard sneakily grabbed a camera and tried to get the perfect shot while the France number nine was holding a press conference.

  • Spain youngsters Yamal and Williams 'have a gift from God' – Luis de la Fuente Spain youngsters Yamal and Williams 'have a gift from God' – Luis de la Fuente

    Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams "have a gift from God", so says Spain boss Luis de la Fuente.

    Yamal and Williams are among a number of exciting talents that De la Fuente has at his disposal heading into Euro 2024.

    Spain, who have won the European Championships on three occasions, face Croatia in their opening Group B game on Saturday.

    They head into the tournament in fine form, having thrashed Andorra and Northern Ireland 5-0 and 5-1 respectively in pre-tournament friendlies, and in Lamal and Williams, have two of LaLiga's most promising young attackers.

    "They are young players, especially Lamine, he's a young boy, with incredible talent that only the chosen ones have," De la Fuente told reporters.

    "They have a gift from God, very few players have these qualities."

    Barcelona teenager Lamal has been involved in five goals in his seven appearances for his country, though revealed this week that he will be doing his school homework during the tournament.

    "We're trying to treat the situation normally, but also trying to explain by being humble he will develop so much more," said De la Fuente, who confirmed defender Aymeric Laporte will not be available on Saturday.

    "If there are bad moments things can fall away fast and there's huge criticism. That goes at his club as well.

    "We're enforcing the education and training from his club. They are special footballers, Nico too, that makes them different from the rest."

    That being said, there is no guarantee that either Lamal or Williams will start against Croatia in Berlin.

    "You might take it for granted that Nico and Lamine play tomorrow, you might think it's a surprise if they don't, but it wouldn't be for me," added the coach.

    Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic, meanwhile, backed Josko Gvardiol, who is likely to play at left-back, to stand up to any attacker he may face.

    "Josko has had a really good season at Manchester City, he's one of our key players," said Dalic.

    "He's capable of stopping any attacker on the Spain team, he's got it all. I hope he will stop Pedri, Yamal and all the others."

    Shoot-outs excluded, Spain have lost only two of their last 22 matches at the Euros (W13 D7), and that was against Croatia and Italy in 2016.

    They have reached the knockout stages in six of their last seven appearances, with the only exception coming in 2004.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.