Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJSC has dropped plans at the last minute to bid for the acquisition of Italian football club A.S. Roma, a three-time Italian champion. Aabar was believed to have submitted a €150 million bid for the indebted club that has been on the market for months. Although AS Roma has a net debt of only €9 million, the club is on the block because its majority shareholder, La Compagnia Italpetroli S.p.A, is being forced by UniCredit to clear €325 it owes the troubled bank, according to soccer business blog The Swiss Ramble. UniCredit, which owns 49 per cent of Italpetroli, took control of AS Roma last year in an attempt to recover at least some of the monies owed. "I can confirm that the recent talks and press speculation about Aabar's interest to buy AS Roma are unfounded," Mohamed Al-Husseiny, the chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle, said in a statement. "Aabar has not submitted a bid to acquire Roma and does not intend to do so in the future. Aabar ... wishes to distance itself from such rumours, also in the interest of a proper and fair auction sale process of the Italian football club," Al-Husseiny said. Aabar last year acquired a 4.99 percent stake in AS Roma administrator UniCredit for €49.8 million. A US consortium that includes Thomas DiBenedetto, whose investment firm Boston International Group Inc. owns the Boston Red Sox baseball club and English Premier League team Liverpool, as well as Julian Movsesian of Succession Capital Alliance and Giampaolo Angelucci, a Rome-based business magnate with interests in health-care, are believed to be bidding for the club alongside two unidentified potential buyers.
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