Roma shares creep up amid investment reports
22 November 2013, 20:58
Milan - A Chinese investor could be preparing to buy a stake in AS Roma, Italian media reported on Friday, sending the Serie A club's shares up two percent on the stock exchange.
American businessman James Pallotta currently holds the majority share (69 percent) in the club, with Italian bank UniCredit owning a 31 percent stake.
It has long been known that UniCredit would be willing to offload its share in the club, but reports on Friday said Pallotta would also be willing to sell part of his 69 percent stake to potential newcomers.
A report on Thursday in Sole 24 Ore newspaper said tycoon Wang Jianlin, president of the Dalian Wanda Group which is considered the biggest property developer in China, could be the club's newest business partner.
However La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Friday ruled Jianlin out of the equation, claiming Cheng Feng, who is president of Hna Group -- which owns Hainan Airlines -- was the most likely investor.
Neither businessman was quoted in the reports, but they were enough to spark action on the stock exchange.
Gazzetta's report claimed Cheng, who studied economics in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States before entering the business world, has built a company which is now worth $58 billion (43 billion euros).
If the reports are confirmed, he would become the second Asian businessman to invest in a Serie A club following the recent takeover of Inter Milan by Indonesian Erick Thohir.