It seems like nothing is going to stop Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim from owning a European football club.
Reports in both Italian and Spanish media have linked him to Italian giants AC Milan.
According to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, which is published in Milan, Lim and agent Jorge Mendes had met Milan vice-president and CEO Adriano Galliani after the Rossoneri's 3-0 home win over Chievo on March 29 to discuss a potential investment.
Spanish newspaper AS, which is based in Madrid, reported that Lim had offered 300 million euros (S$520million) for a 51 per cent stake in the Serie A club.
However, for that price, Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi was willing to sell only 30 per cent of the club, who have won 18 Serie A titles and seven European Cups.
This is not the first time Lim has set his sights on acquiring a top European club.
As recently as two months ago, he was involved in a 420 million euro bid for Spanish side Valencia, with 200 million euro to clear the club's debts, 170 million euro to finish construction of a new stadium and 50 millions euro for new signings.
Media reports also claimed he had signed two players in anticipation of his acquisition of Valencia, with Benfica striker Rodrigo Moreno, 22, and midfielder Andre Gomes, 20, signed to a Hong Kong-based investment company called Meriton Capital, said to be owned by Lim.
Last April, he was reportedly in talks to buy a stake in Atletico Madrid, just a month before the Spanish club played a friendly match against a Singapore Selection here and won 2-0.
Lim had also made a £300 million (S$620.5 million) cash offer to buy English Premier League side Liverpool in 2010, only to see the club sold to New England Sports Ventures, an American sports investment company now known as Fenway Sports Group.
The son of a fishmonger, Lim is a self-made man who worked his way through school as a waiter and taxi driver before becoming a stockbroker.
In 1996, he gave up managing other people's money to become a full-time investor, making his fortune through holdings in palm-oil producers.
The father of two children went through a high-profile divorce from his first wife, Venus Teo, that dragged on from 1995 to 1999. He has since remarried.
While he is a passionate football fan and a Manchester United supporter, Lim also supports local athletes.
He donated $10 million in 2010 to set up the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim scholarship to help needy but talented athletes achieve their sporting dreams.
Lim is estimated to be worth US$2.05 billion (S$2.6 billion) by Forbes and is ranked 10th among Singapore's richest men.
This article was published on April 8 in The New Paper.
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