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Friedkin Group agrees €591m Roma takeover deal

Jordan Veretout of AS Roma celebrates with his teammates after scoring during the Serie A match versus ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Olimpico on July 26 (by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Italian Serie A football club AS Roma is set to receive new American owners after the Friedkin Group agreed a €591m ($700m) deal to acquire the team.

The deal announced today (Thursday) is set to end Jim Pallotta’s stewardship of the club, with his US consortium having completed a takeover in August 2011. AS Roma SPV, the majority shareholder of the club, has signed a binding equity purchase agreement with the Friedkin Group, which is led by American billionaire Dan Friedkin.

AS Roma SPV will sell to Friedkin its controlling interest in the team and certain related assets, including the funds it has made available to the team to support its foreseen capitalisation, and Friedkin will assume certain related team liabilities.

The transaction will be effected through a sale to Friedkin of AS Roma SPV’s entire 86.6 per cent of the team’s share capital. The completion of the deal, which is expected later this month, will trigger an obligation on Friedkin to launch a mandatory tender offer on the outstanding shares, representing approximately 13.4 per cent of Roma’s share capital.

Dan Friedkin, chairman and chief executive of the Friedkin Group, said: “All of us at the Friedkin Group are so happy to have taken the steps to become a part of this iconic city and club. We look forward to closing the purchase as soon as possible and immersing ourselves in the AS Roma family.”

Pallotta has long been seeking an exit from the club having grown frustrated by issues such as the stalled project to develop a new stadium. In June, it  was reported that Pallotta’s consortium had been forced to seek new buyers after a planned €750m sale to Texas-based billionaire Friedkin fell through.

In August 2014, Pallotta’s consortium strengthened its hold on Roma after acquiring Italian banking group UniCredit’s stake in the club. A Roma statement said UniCredit had sold its remaining 31-per-cent stake in Roma’s controlling company, NEEP Roma Holding, to AS Roma SPV for €33m. AS Roma SPV secured 100 per cent of NEEP, which in turn meant a majority 78-per-cent stake in the club.

In December 2017, Roma secured approval from four local governing bodies to proceed with its long-running plans to build a new stadium. Roma Capitale, the Metropolitan City, the Region of Lazio and the Italian government all-cleared the 55,000-seat Stadio della Roma project.

Roma began work on the project in February 2012 when it launched a search for a suitable site for its new home. In December of the same year, the club selected a location in the Tor di Valle area of Rome for the stadium. However, the project has stalled in recent years amid myriad planning issues, along with a high profile corruption case.

Commenting on the takeover deal, Roma president Pallotta said: “Over the last month, Dan and Ryan Friedkin have demonstrated their total commitment to finalising this deal and taking the club forward in a positive way. I am sure they will be great future owners for AS Roma.”