GdS: ‘A very high valuation’ – why Milan’s €1.2bn sale price arouses suspicions

By Oliver Fisher -

One of the things that the financial authorities are looking into regarding AC Milan is the sale price in 2022, when the club moved from Elliott Management’s hands to those of RedBird Capital.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) have provided a comprehensive round-up of what we know so far regarding the investigation, as well as what was uncovered regarding a structure in place for PIF (or another fund) to invest.

The paper go back to the spring of 2022 when the Rossoneri were about to be bought by Investcorp, a Bahraini fund that relaunched Gucci in the 1990s. Then came RedBird’s surprise blitz.

When the closing of the operation was officially announced on 31 August 2022, two circumstances stood out: the valuation given to the Rossoneri club, i.e. €1.2bn, and the €550m vendor loan granted by Elliott to RedBird which, before concluding the deal, managed assets of $6bn (now $10bn).

It is true that Milan had been reorganised, with EBITDA in positive territory and financial debts substantially eliminated, but the price of the transaction still expressed a multiple of revenues higher than 4.5, at the level of the richest clubs in the world despite large assets were missing.

It is no coincidence that the algorithm of the consultancy firm Football Benchmark assigned, at that time, an enterprise value of €578m to Milan. On the other hand, almost half of the official value of the transaction was generated by a loan from the same seller, at an interest rate of 7% per annum which will have to be repaid by RedBird by 2025.

Against this financing Elliott secured the pledge on 99.93% of the shares sold to Acm Bidco (the Dutch vehicle used by Gerry Cardinale to take over AC Milan), ‘as a guaranteed credit, under the contract called Pledge Agreement over Shares’.

According to a statement from June 2022, the agreement provided for Elliott to maintain a minority financial stake in the club. Subsequently, once the closing took place, it was clarified that the transfer of shares concerned the entire package held by Elliott.

However, one of the clauses envisaged to act as a guarantee the loan came about: the maintenance of Elliott’s own representatives on the board of directors.

So in September 2022, when the new board took office, Gordon Singer – the son of Elliott’s founder, Paul – took their place, as well as Giorgio Furlani and Stefano Cocirio who have been for years the portfolio manager and associate portfolio manager of Elliott respectively. Roles they then left.

Cardinale told the Financial Times about their importance: “I have enormous respect for Paul and Gordon Singer. I told them, ‘When we do this thing, I want you to continue to be involved and then we’ll put you in a different part of the capital structure’.

“We took two of their best men of their own free will. I did not do it. They raised their hands. We examined them together with everyone else and, surprise of surprises, they are excellent, both as CEO and as CFO.”

Now, after some time, Elliott points out that there is only one representative left on the Rossoneri board of directors, because Furlani and Cocirio have become employees of Milan. Therefore, only Gordon Singer remains, but his presence is by no means marginal.

Having been involved in the Rossoneri since the beginning of Elliott’s adventure, he is a highly listened to advisor who Cardinale certainly consults for all strategic decisions.

It should be remembered too that Paolo Scaroni – president of Milan since 2018 and deputy chairman of Rothschild at the time when the bank was advisor to Li Yonghong – was recently appointed president of RedBird International by Cardinale.


Tags AC Milan


  1. Some people have been defiant of the Wall Street vultures from the beginning but « surprise of surprises » they seem even worse than expected. Jerry was not joking when he said he’s ambitious.

    1. i like how you eat up all these rumors, journos love gullible people like you, this is how they make their money lmao.

      They can write anything negative and you’ll believe it instantly but if its anything positive then you become suspicious

      what sort of mindset is this?

      1. Many of us (and that includes @Bartholomeo) were suspicious of these people when the take over was in place so this media writing is irrelevant and could actually even prove our doubts as justified.

        Unlike you who jumped on the Gerry wagon the day they started hoarding “potential could be” players, revamping the squad with no less than 11 players and spending 130 millions on the way.

        So who’s easily gullible here?

        1. Yeah because they sacked Maldini they are evil, lets hope for Milan to be sent to Serie D for the sin of sacking our god

          one player defines a club as big as Mian obviously

          1. Yes lol. How does everything become Maldini for you? Furlani and Gazidis article, zero mention of Maldini in the comments…. but Maldini comes out of your mouth. LMAO 😂
            Also, while we’re at it … Yes one player did define Milan more than any other for our club and for any club in the world as a matter of fact. There literally isn’t a bigger legend of a club in football history. Won as a player, won as a Director. Why hate on that? Sometimes I wonder where people’s loyalties really lie or if they really are just out to troll

        2. From day 1 (when we had just won scudetto)

          Maldini had to come out and say that he had heard nothing from the new owners, about whether he would stay on or not.
          They left it until his contract expired at end of June.
          This really messed up the market and spoiled the celebrations.

          Then by some coincidence it was going to take them until end of transfer window to complete the deal (never seen that in any other takeover)

          Never mind the fact they took a large loan from the seller to buy it.
          I’d love to see them all out

      2. This is not swating. The Italian ministry of Justice doesn’t raid private homes and major companies headquarters on an anonymous phone call. They obviously have some solid evidence and the investigations are at an advanced stage.

        1. Yes they do. Are you kidding me. Italy is the most corrupt, buffoonish country west of Russia. What’s the charge? Where’s the evidence? Blue sky’s lawsuits alleging false conduct fell apart in the courts so is this try number two…

          1. Fair point. Inter of course persuaded everyone they were clean in Calciopoli. I could def see bogus charges being upheld in court.

  2. Oh I should have read this before that other article. Made a post about the price. It’s highly suspicious indeed. I thought this would have been the charges if anything, not some procedural acts. Elliot acquired Milan at a valuation around 500m and sold for 1.2bn in a few years…yea that’s a bit iffy. And make it worse they were party to both sides of the price mechanism…ie both seller and buyer effectively

    1. Except for one critical thing: Berlusconi sold Milan to Yonghong Li for 828m USD. So if Milan had a market value of 828m USD then, it stands to reason that once Elliott cleaned it up, fixed the finances and brought the club back to the CL and with growth “assets” such as Leao, Theo and Mike on the books, plus increasing revenue streams, that a price increase to 1.2bn isn’t super crazy. Elliott got the club at a valuation of 500m AFTER Yonghong Li had taken on 350m debt to buy the club AND then spent 200m on players just to finish 6th, missing out on CL revenue and without the marketing savvy of the Americans.

      This is also modern football finance, where players worth no more than 40m are being bought and sold for 60-80m. Ask “consultancy firm Football Benchmark” to value Rasmus Hojlund. Are they going to say he’s 74m? I understand that valuing a player is a bit different than valuing a business with measurable in and out flows, but my point is that valuations in football in general just don’t make sense because of the sheer amount of money that flows in.

      Even IF Elliot inflated the value of the club, where is the crime? That’s like me putting a price on a shirt 3x higher than the store next door, and someone came in and decided they would pay my price. Oh well. Where is the conspiracy? What is the fraud? That the buyer was an idiot? The tax man still gets his cut.

      To be sure, I’m not happy we’re being questioned, and I’m concerned that there IS something wrong. I hope things are cleared up positively and soon. We are in a critical part of the season with the sole competition we’re still in the running for on the line. We did not need this.

      1. I was wondering where your comment went in a different article because u brought up some interesting points lol. Didn’t realize it was here. So your last point first, I’m solidly in that corner, not a great time to have this happen and I’m concerned there’s something serious too.

        For the valuation part, i wrote it in the other article but ill summarize here. I was quoting in Euros so our numbers might be about the same when doing the conversion. So that 200+350m I’m on board with that. On board with player values being part of overall club value too but remember we also had debts and that was a 200m overspend and revenues didn’t match at the time.
        I had checked out Milan’s value on statista. Since 2017 we’ve been in and around 500-600m mark not exceeding that range in any year and not growing at a rate as say real estate. Matter of fact it was quite stagnant. So, the clearing of the debts and so on may have been offset by growth in player values for instance Then it jumped from 600m to 1.1bn in a year due to the purchase. That’s the problem I have. It almost doubled for no reason. Contrast that to Chelsea from 2017 onwards had an increase in value of about 200m per year so I could see why it got sold for above 20% more than its value.

        The example of selling the t-shirt missing something. We sold the t-shirt for 3 times higher, yes but we allowed the person paying to bridge the gap in the valuation ourselves. Ie we loaned the guy the money to buy the shirt at 3 times higher because he couldn’t afford to pay the sticker price in the first place. That’s the problem. If we didn’t do that, the question is would the value still be 3x or would say an independent 3rd party like a bank value the company like that and loan the same money or less to purchase at 3x. If the value is artificially high and it’s used to mislead investors, that’s a crime. It’s akin to pump and dump strategies. Some frauds are committed by reputable people behind the wheel too. They use their image and reputation to create a value higher than what they’re selling. Not saying this is what Gerry is doing but it can happen. The recent interview with Ibra doesn’t do him any favours here. It was very classic “hey trust me, I know what I’m doing. I know all these famous people which adds to my clout. I’ve been doing business for a while and my reputation is stellar”. Well so was Bernie if you catch my drift.

      2. “Even IF Elliot inflated the value of the club, where is the crime? That’s like me putting a price on a shirt 3x higher than the store next door, and someone came in and decided they would pay my price. Oh well. Where is the conspiracy? What is the fraud? That the buyer was an idiot? The tax man still gets his cut.”

        And haven’t we all read 1000x times here on this very same site comments where people justify Leao’s salary demands by saying “the value is based on what others are willing to pay”. So… Using that mantra, someone was willing to pay over 1B€ for the club and therefore the value is that. Right? Or are you guys eating your own words now? 🙂

  3. BTW, I’ll also note that every single article from GdS about us is super negative. There is something to be said about this.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.