Cardinale sheds light on buying Milan, vendor loan, club’s growth and stadium plans

By Oliver Fisher -

Gerry Cardinale has once again spoken about his plans for AC Milan and his hopes for Italian football, while also offering a comment on the investigation into the club.

If you need to catch up on what happened last month when Casa Milan was raided by the authorities, there are seven key questions related to the case which were answered.

In the meantime while the investigations are ongoing, Cardinale is in a crucial period of planning for Milan’s future beyond the end of the current season, with decisions to make on various issues from the head coach to the transfer window.

One thing the RedBird chief has never hidden is his desire to win and to win consistently, something that has got supporters excited about what might come next.

Cardinale spoke on ‘The Deal’, a Bloomberg podcast, about a number of different topics from his decision to buy Milan to the structure of the deal plus what he plans to do in the coming months and years. PianetaMilan relayed his comments.

Tell us about buying Milan…

“Buying Milan was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best. But the irony is that it was all self-imposed. I had an entrepreneurial need that I had to satisfy, and it was exactly the kind of thing that we do more and more at RedBird.

“The way that institutionalised finance on Wall Street has evolved, you’re not compensated for that amount of activity, of rolling up your sleeves, of working hard and all that. And I mean compensated not just in terms of money, but also in terms of overall effort.

“I like to play the role of shadow entrepreneur and I like to solve problems with capital. And there happens to be a bit of luck in people’s careers. I happened to find a turning point in the sport that I could never have predicted in 2000/2001.

“If we look back at the last 20 years, we realise that it was really a great fortune. I really found an air gap where I am took off. Now the challenge is to navigate this situation, because now everyone has discovered the sport.”

You were also involved with Toulouse…

“To cut a long story short, Toulouse’s price was around 60 million euros . They were relegated to the second tier. We bought them for 15 million euros within three months.

“Within three months, with Billy, Luke Bornn and our team, our data analysis team, we sold our first player for around 15 million euros. And then, after the first year, we got promoted to Ligue 1. And now Toulouse sails steadily to mid-table and has a very reasonable wage bill.

“That would make you think we would have to spend a lot more to be as mid-table as we are. European football is about spending that incremental dollar of capital better than the next guy.

“Then we invested in Fenway Sports Group during COVID, because I believed in this type of intellectual property and we focused on sport as a rights holder. With FSG I got to know the greats with Liverpool. So that was the next step in the tutorial, and it is It was one of the first deals I made in sports.”

You used a vendor loan to buy Milan…

“Billy Beane has been around AC Milan for several years, and we’ve kind of observed him. But again, you think you know a lot about sports, but then you realise you don’t actually, because of all the feedback that you get.

“Every time I brought up the topic of AC Milan internally or here in the United States, everyone said, ‘You’re crazy.’ ‘Don’t ever think about investing in Italy.’ But the answer to your question is that, in the end, there we found ourselves going around the circle.

“Elliott was the owner of Milan. Milan was in debt, originally there was a Chinese owner, who made a mess and Elliott came in, enforced the pledge and became owner. So, initially he’s not someone you would associate with owning a club in the sports world. I think Paul would tell you that.

“But I have to say the thing that changed my mind was meeting Paul and Gordon Singer, his son, who led the investments and team at Elliott. And I can’t say enough good things about them.

“I am very knowledgeable about how they did a phenomenal job in the four years they owned Milan, from 2018 to when we bought it in 2022, to restore it.

“We own 100% of the capital with a vendor loan. And we bought Milan in a very interesting way. I think we paid a fair price, especially in relation to other prices you see.

“We bought it at a multiple four times revenue and when we bought it it was just below cash flow positive or breakeven. Now cash flow is significantly positive.”

What do you think of Milan’s growth?

“Obviously, performances help. We reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. When I took over, it was a challenge because they had just won the Scudetto. So, actually, I took a different approach to what I do usually: for the first year I didn’t do anything. Really, I just watched. But I’ll tell you that the best thing you can do is not go into the field with guns blazing.”

A new stadium is also in your plans…

“It will be the first built in Italy since 2011. It will be an American-style stadium, with 70,000 seats. We will bring music to Milan and build something. A great live event, an entertainment campus for Milan, truly linked to the team, but something similar to Milan.

“It’s interesting, because we’ll have to find a way to crystallise the value. But it’s something that you should probably own forever, which is the height of iconicity and opportunity, as a platform.

“And we’ll build this new stadium. When we finish building the stadium, I promise you that we will have a company that will build stadiums.”

TV rights is a big issue in Italy…

“Milan is truly one of the most important clubs. I believe they are one of the top four brands globally in football. And now, with the breaking down of barriers thanks to streaming and the possibility of broadcasting these matches in the United United live, the younger guys today know everyone, not just the Premier League.

“I can only tell you that I received more comments from people, people I know, people I didn’t know, when we bought Milan from New York and the United States United than from Europe. TV rights will also be an evolution. There is not much competition for TV rights in Europe.”


Tags AC Milan Gerry Cardinale


  1. With all due respect, Toulouse is a massively different/smaller club to a giant like Milan.
    “We own 100% of the capital with a vendor loan. And we bought Milan in a very interesting way. I think we paid a fair price, especially in relation to other prices you see.”
    Very interesting way to make a purchase indeed. I haven’t checked in relation to other prices but the our valuations over time seem suspect relative to the price paid. It’s astronomical relative to past prices. Even if revenue did increase 4 fold (hint: it did not), it still wouldn’t double the value of the club 🤷‍♂️. I believe the valuation, most recent being on account of the price of purchase, is helped on by the vendor loan which itself is helped on by the seller…in this case… Elliott. That, to say the least, is sus wrt fair pricing.

    Here is AC Milan Valuation acc to Statista:

    2016: —-545

    1. Just check statista and you seem to be misstating the value assessment first, the doubling coincides with several positive developments first in 2019 with the consolidation of club debt then in 2021 with a scudetto and then in 2022 (when the price value doubles) with the announcement of new sponsorship deals, CL semi final, player value increases, stable ownership and new property acquisition in 2023. Forbs who statista got its data explains all this. But you have the financial acumen of most Italians and don’t see the correlation between what’s listed above and an increase in value.

      Just for context you could go anywhere in the world and say ac Milan and everyone would know who you are talking about. That represents significant marketing value which Elliot and Redbird have been able to capitalize on to secure lucrative sponsorship deals and to represent future value.

      The whole Inter can’t pay back a vender loan and Suning’s own shady investment/ownership practices gets a full pass while Milan is under the microscope for acting in well established ways? If anything is sus it’s these Italian nationalists who can’t comprehend Americans are clearly better at calcio and business than them!

      1. I really don’t get this comments section. You guys make me laugh. Is it because I comment on an article about Gerry? So you just lump everyone you have a problem with in the same bunch. Saying Italians don’t have good financial acumen is an insult to them and the good people who are fans or part of the club. Implying that your financial acumen is in some way superior to them when clearly you don’t know that Inter doesn’t have a vendor loan but a more typical private loan is quite ironic. And why u have to talk about another club, focus on yours lol 😂And I really don’t give a rats a$$ about what Inter do or dont do. Who gave them a pass anyway?

        I don’t know why you guys get so defensive when people ask basic questions about the owners. I did the same with Li… like where is he getting the 200m to spend on players, what the 300m loan was about and if he defaulted who then owns our beloved club. It’s no different now, it’s ok to check the owners. You don’t have to drink all their cool aid.

        Anyways, I am quite aware of the reasons of an increase in the valuation of the club like player value increase, debt reduction etc but my issue is timing and amount…one year over the next…that didn’t just come overnight so that one year to the next it just shoots up by 100%. Those things would/should have been increasing the valuation in prior years esp rev growth and player value and the trajectory should have been more consistent. This is why I’m speculating that it’s the price paid thats driving the valuation even on the Forbes site rather than fundamentals (if you don’t believe me, Gerry himself used a times rev approach to value the club, but you already knew that with your financial acumen). Almost as if to reconcile with the current price, chicken and egg situation. Player value and revenue can’t account for a 500m gain in a single year. Granted in many ways these things are subjective but still need to be within limits.

        (If you can point out the Forbes article that says why I’d be more than happy to read but what I’ve seen from Forbes is just their valuation based on trajectory of a composition of metrics, not the whys).

        The other issue is with the way with the vendor loan itself being used as a tool to drive up the price/valuation of the club because both the seller and the buyer have the same vested interest in creating the desired outcome. It seems smart and “Interesting that it’s legal to do so”.

        Btw, you do know I’ve always said no one does commercialization better than the Americans and I’ve always praised their effort to get a stadium. That doesn’t make me an automatic fanboy of them but I do give respects to where it’s due. What I dont do is just drink the cool aid Gerry be serving and you’ve been drinking

        1. It is amazing the “fans” who jump to the defence of a vulture fund and a hedgefund manager.

          I like you will always have a healthy sceptiscism about these kind of people, until proven otherwise.

          It is Milan I support and I don’t give a rats a$$ about the greedy billionaires who are speculating.

          1. That’s the thing. It’s just a thinking/healthy skepticism thing 🤷‍♂️.
            It’s not like I liked Berlusconi totally either. It’s the same questions. I keep it consistent lol
            But I do give props to Gerry on trying to push hard for the stadium though. Those two sets of thoughts can coexist at the same time lol

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.