By John Ensor •
Published: 07 Nov 2023 • 17:12
Image of a football on a bed of euros.
Credit: DELBO ANDREA/Shutterstock.com
Could a Finnish entrepreneur revive Inter Milan’s fortunes? Earlier this week a Finnish tycoon made known his intentions to present an acquisition proposal for the financially burdened Italian football club.
As reported on Monday, November 6, by Italy’s ‘La Repubblica’, 69-year-old Thomas Zilliacus, who previously attempted to purchase Manchester United, has amassed an investment of €2.5 billion. A portion of this fund is earmarked for his bid to take over Inter Milan from Chinese proprietors, Suning Holdings Group, writes Barrons.
Zilliacus stated: ‘I’m serious. This week or next week at the very latest the Inter owners will receive a solid offer from me to buy the club.’ His investment vehicle, XXICenturyCapital, based in Singapore and involved in both football and fashion, is set to make the proposal.
Despite the company lacking an online presence, Zilliacus remained tight-lipped about the identity of his backers and the team assisting with his acquisition efforts.
When probed about the possibility of financial backing from the Gulf states, which have shown a growinging interest in European football, Zilliacus chose not to expand on the specifics. ‘I don’t want to get into such details,’ he remarked, ensuring only that ‘I’ve collected capital from various places, that should be enough.’
Inter Milan, who narrowly missed out on Champions League glory last season, are under pressure to settle a substantial debt. They are due to repay a loan of €275 million plus interest by summer 2024, and have incurred losses of €85 million in the 2022/23 period.
Club president Steven Zhang has shown reluctance to sell but might contemplate onboarding a minority shareholder and refinancing the club’s loan through Oaktree Capital Management.
Formerly an executive at Nokia, Zilliacus credits his financial success to business ventures in Asia’s technology industry. Despite his relatively low profile in Finland before a March bid for Manchester United, he is an ardent football enthusiast, who previously owned a hockey club.
He is also the founder of tech investment conglomerate Mobile FutureWorks Inc (MFW). The unlisted company claims to innovate across a diverse spectrum, including social media, digital payment systems, eSports, video streaming, and property development.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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