US investment takes over Italian football

Andrea Montolivo

Rome, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- Italian soccer has attracted more American investment, with US businessman Robert Platek the latest to close a deal worth $24 million to fully acquire Serie A club Spezia.

The team is the fifth Serie A club under US ownership after AS Roma, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Parma.

Milan was purchased by Elliot Management Fund in 2018, while Italian-American Rocco Commisso took over Fiorentina in 2019.

Last year, US billionaire Dan Friedkin acquired a majority stake in Roma, and businessman Kyle Krause bought Parma club.

Bologna, which has won the Italian league championship seven times, has Canadian businessman Joey Saputo as its owner and VFC Newco 2020 LLC consortium, whom Duncan Niederauer presides over, jumped into Italian soccer with the acquisition of Serie B side Venezia.

Platek, who is a partner at US private investment firm MSD Capital, is the latest American to take ownership of an Italian club, a move that coincided with Spezia’s first-ever season in Italy’s top flight league.

The new owner of the seaside club made the investment without any participation from MSD, since he and his family are big fans of Italy, especially the Cinque Terre, a famous maritime area that is located nearby La Spezia.

“We are happy to have acquired Spezia Calcio,” the Platek family said on the club website. “Serie A is an elite league and we have been looking for the opportunity of a partnership with an Italian club of which we appreciated the mission and the ethics.”

Platek also owns the Danish first division team Sonderjyske, and the Portuguese second division team Casa Pia.

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