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Investors poised to score with Inter deal

By Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

08:06, August 03, 2012

Moratti with the chairman of China Railway Construction.(Photo/China Railway Construction Corporation Limited)

Italian soccer giant says group to acquire 15 percent stake

A group of Chinese investors are set to play a key role in one of the world's most famous soccer clubs, according to media reports and a statement from the club.

However, one of the investors linked to the deal has denied any involvement in purchasing shares but said it will be involved in building a new home ground for the club.

The deal will see the investors pay 55 million euros ($67 million) for a 15 percent stake in Italy's Inter Milan, a statement from Internazionale Holding said.

The deal, if finalized, will mark the first time that Chinese investors have entered the global sports industry arena, experts said.

"The Moratti family will keep control of the company while the group of Chinese investors will become the second-largest shareholder," Inter Milan's statement, which was released on Thursday, said.

Media reports said on Thursday that "Chinese investors" valued the Italian club at 500 million euros and will acquire a 15 percent stake.

Reports also said the investors include China Railway Construction Corp Ltd, and Hong Kong-based QSL Sports Ltd, a sports investment company.

But China Railway Construction, China's largest engineering contractor, denied on Thursday night it was part of the investment deal.

"Our company has not been involved in negotiations concerning the buying of the club's shares," the statement said.

Yu Xingxi, spokesman for China Railway Construction, confirmed to China Daily that "neither the listed company nor the parent company has been involved in the 15 percent stake purchase".

According to the statement, China Railway Construction will build a new stadium for the club by 2017. "In the upcoming months the parties will jointly select potentially suitable locations, define the project team and start the filing process to obtain the required authorization," the statement said.

China Railway Construction confirmed in the statement that China Railway 15th Bureau Group Co Ltd, its subsidiary, is discussing building a new stadium with Inter Milan. The company will issue a statement if the contract is signed, it said.

The stadium will have a capacity of 60,000 and construction is scheduled to start next year, Chinese media reports said. Inter currently share a home ground with AC Milan at the 80,065 capacity San Siro stadium.

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