Thai businessman heads to Italy for AC Milan talks

Thai businessman heads to Italy for AC Milan talks

BANGKOK - Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol will travel to Italy this weekend for talks to buy a stake in Serie A side AC Milan, a source close to Bee said on Thursday.

Bee said in February he had held talks about buying a stake in the club after media reports that he had made an offer of 1 billion euros (S$1.44 billion) for a controlling stake. "I can't say whether he will sign a deal," the source said, adding that she expected some progress early next month. "It is likely that Bee will give comments in early May." The Thai businessman has signed a non-disclosure agreement until a deal is closed, she added.

Taechaubol is executive director of southeast Asian private equity group Thai Prime Company Limited.

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has owned AC Milan since the 1980s. But his continued ownership has been at the centre of speculation as the club has struggled to compete financially with the top teams from other major European leagues.

AC Milan last won Serie A in 2011 and, lying ninth in the table, looks set to miss out on the Champions League next year. The club's indifferent form has put Coach Filippo Inzaghi under pressure, and he is seen as unlikely to remain at the helm next season.

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