ROME - Thomas Di Benedetto, the head of a
United States consortium bidding to take control of
cash-strapped Italian football club AS Roma, flew in to try to
strike a takeover deal with creditor bank Unicredit on Monday.
Reports said Di Benedetto, a partner of New England Sports
Ventures which owns English Premier League side Liverpool, was
spotted arriving in Rome off a flight from Boston before heading
to a meeting with the bank.
Earlier this month the company which controls Roma,
Italpetroli, said it had extended a period of exclusive talks
with the U.S. consortium until 30 March.
Discussions have been going on for months with takeover
speculation surrounding the indebted club for years.
One of the reasons for coach Claudio Ranieri's resignation
last month was the uncertainty caused by the prospect of new
owners and the lack of money he had to spend in the January
Unicredit had taken over the defacto running of the club in
order to steer the sale process and recoup losses.
Roma, now managed by former player Vincenzo Montella, were
eliminated by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions league last 16
earlier this month and lie sixth in Serie A having finished
runners-up last term.
No Serie A club is currently majority owned by foreign
investors, who have instead been drawn to the more lucrative
English Premier League where top stadiums are often full and
merchandise sales significantly boost profits, unlike in Italy.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Sunderland are
all owned by Americans.
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