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It’s official: LionRock Capital buys into Inter Milan

Hong Kong-based company purchases remaining shares from Erick Thohir.

FC Internazionale v Udinese - Serie A
FC Internazionale Milano president Steven Zhang (R) speaks with new CEO of FC Internazionale Giuseppe Marotta prior to the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Udinese at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 15, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

It is now official that Hong Kong-based LionRock Capital has purchased 31.05 percent of Inter Milan from former president Erick Thohir and his holding company, International Sports Capital HK Ltd.

Steven Zhang, president of Inter Milan said the new minority ownership comes at a good time for the club after strong financial gains during the 2017-18 season.

“This gives us full confidence for the future development of the Club and has led to the interest of LionRock Capital. In addition to this partnership, we also look forward to establishing further global sporting and commercial relationships,” Zhang said, in a statement on Inter’s website. “Together with our partners, we continue working on our prime objective – to make Inter a top club worldwide on and off the pitch and to provide the best possible experience for millions of Inter fans.”

Daniel Kar Keung Tseung said LionRock is “very optimistic about the business development prospects” for Inter Milan.

“LionRock Capital will fully support Inter’s key objective to make the Club one of the world’s top football clubs both on and off the pitch,” Keung Tseung said.

According to its website, LionRock Capital also has Suning Sports – subsidiary of Suning Group, the primary owner of Inter Milan – in its portfolio.

Thohir stepped down as Inter Milan president in October 2018 to make way for Zhang. The controlling interest of the club is owned by Suning Group and its co-founder Zhang Jindong. Suning purchased its interest in the club in 2016.

In June 2018, Corriere Della Sera reported that it was Suning Group that was interested in purchasing Thohir’s remaining shares of the club — valued at nearly €200 million. However, the Chinese government has placed limits of how much Chinese-based companies can invest in foreign companies.

In addition to Inter Milan, LionRock Capital has Didi Chuxing – billed as China’s leading ride service provider – Jinxin INV – an in-vitro fertilization service provider in China – café and bakery operator Gourmet Master and Lufax – an internet wealth management platform – in its portfolio.

LionRock was established in 2011 as an “experienced private equity investor in Asia’s fast-growing consumer sector, providing strategic, financial, and corporate governance support for growth stage companies.”

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