Meet the dealmaker who bought AC Milan from Elliott Management

Meet the dealmaker who bought AC Milan from Elliott Management

The summer sports schedule is heating up, with National Basketball Association ongoing finals between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors and the National Hockey LeagueThe Stanley Cup playoffs are fast approaching. I’ll be in Boston next week for Games 3 and 4 of the Basketball Classic, where the Celtics will have home-court advantage after winning Game 1 in San Francisco.

In the meantime, we look to blending traditional European sport with American ownership, dissecting Gerry Cardinalthe plans of AC Milan and why Freedom Mediarecovery efforts Formula One still a long way to go. Keep reading — Sara Germano, US Sports Affairs Correspondent

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The executive who bought AC Milan from Elliott Management

Ac Milan players in an open top bus celebrating their Serie A title

Zlatan Ibrahimović and AC Milan: a new era © AFP via Getty Images

It was a busy week for RedBird Capital Partners founder Gerry Cardinale.

the old Goldman Sachs executive capped off a series of busy acquisitions over the past two years with a purchase agreement AC Milan, the new sacred a league champions, from the american hedge fund Elliott Management for €1.2 billion.

The agreement, signed on Wednesday, closes the curtain on an ambitious and ultimately successful completion time under Elliott, who seized the club from the Chinese businessman Li Yong Hong after defaulting on its debts in 2018. Stay tuned for more FT coverage on how the RedBird-Elliott deal went down.

For Cardinale, the acquisition of AC Milan — known as Rossonerithe Italian translation of reds and blacks – puts him on a growing list of Italian Americans picking up soccer clubs in the motherland that includes Stephen Pagliuca of Atalanta BC, Rocco Commisso at ACF Fiorentina and Kyle Krause of Parma.

The Goldman alum is no stranger to sports ownership. After spending more than 20 years at the Wall Street bank, where he was a partner and helped lead its private equity investment business, he launched RedBird in 2014 and embarked on an eight-year streak of negotiation.

RedBird assets include the French football club FC Toulousewho recently landed a promotion to the top flight League 1 for the 2022-2023 season, and a 10% stake in Fenway Sports Groupthe holding company that owns Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

RedBird also holds interests in SpringHill Company – the media and entertainment vehicle founded by james lebron and Maverick Carter — and, in cricket, the Indian Premier Leagueit is Rajasthani Royals.

Cardinale’s tenure in Toulouse, as well as her pre-RedBird experience creating YESthe New York Yankees‘ regional sports network, form the clearest plans for his goals in Milan, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

His priorities include stabilizing the club’s performance on the pitch to keep them at or near the top of the Serie A table, and building a proper media and entertainment platform around what has always been the game. one of the most successful clubs in Europe.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a special-purpose acquisition company created by RedBird and silver ball administrator Billy Beane canceled its project to acquire the ticketing platform SeatGeek, just hours before Spac shareholders are due to vote on the deal. This comes amid a broad cooling in the Spac market, which has fallen out of favor among traders lately.

The dashboard still has questions. How will Cardinale, who despite being the descendant of Italian immigrants don’t speak the language, navigate the country’s labyrinthine municipal systems to build a new stadium or upgrade Saint Sirothe club home he shares with his crosstown rivals InterMilan?

And with their first scudetto With more than a decade fresh in hand, how will Milan approach the summer transfer market under new ownership?

The next few weeks will determine whether the ambitions of the club’s new American owner come up against the reality of the Italian market.

Why Formula 1’s turnaround isn’t over

Sergio Perez

Sergio Pérez: winner of the Monaco Grand Prix © Getty Images

Imagine someone other than Bernie Eclestone could race Formula 1.

The former car salesman, who became a billionaire when he realized TV money would turn quirky sport into serious business, reigned until Freedom Mediathe investment group controlled by the American tycoon John Maloneacquired F1 in an $8 billion deal more than five years ago.

Bernie was absent and the Americans who replaced him had to prove themselves in a sport with a resolutely European tradition.

A special report from the FT on the F1 job assesses the turnaround effort and what remains for Liberty Media to do.

It was no easy task, given that Ecclestone had ignored the rise of social media and prioritized older, wealthier fans.

mercedesco-owned by the German automaker Daimler and manager of the Austrian team Toto Wolfclinched gold with a dominant car and generational British driver talent Lewis Hamilton. Most of the rivals didn’t have the money to keep up; those who had money could not.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei knew it wouldn’t be an instant revolution. The biggest teams initially resisted plans to cap team spending and spread revenue more evenly across the network.

But the Covid pandemic has changed the conversation. With a season shortened to 17 races and declining revenue, teams have compromised on proposals.

Now investors are buy in team through a budget ceiling that limits spending and promotes profitability. New stars like the Mercedes driver george russell see the light of day, with young fans discovering the personalities behind the helmets thanks to Drive to survivea television series on netflix.

Even Liberty Media’s push into America has started to pay stopped. Miami joined the schedule for the first time this season and Vegas will follow in November next year, adding to its usual US run in Austin.

However, Liberty Media must prove that the American craze is more than a fad. Pumping breaks from this year’s Russian Grand Prix resulted in losses of $40-70 million and a reminder of the geopolitical risks of running a traveling circus.

F1 must keep up with technological developments, as pointed out by james allenfascinating interview with Ferrari chief Benoit Vignawhile the sport must also prove its climatic credentials with sustainable fuel on the agenda. Elsewhere, Hamilton, the sport’s only black driver, is lead the conversation on fixing F1’s infamous lack of diversity.

Liberty Media is nevertheless sticking around. “There are a lot of positive flywheels, I don’t know if we would want to get out there,” says Maffei. “In an environment where many businesses face challenges, it’s quite nice to have one that works on every cylinder.”

Strong points

French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and interior minister Gérald Darmanin

French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and interior minister Gérald Darmanin: on defense © AP

  • France apologized for the chaos around the UEFA Champions League final in Paris, marred by poor crowd management outside Stade de France before that of Real Madrid 1-0 win over Liverpool. French police were filmed spraying tear gas at fans, including children, delaying kick-off and raising deeper questions as France prepares to host the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the summer olympics the next year.

  • Mercedes could stop supplying engines to one of its F1 team customers – McLaren, Aston Martin Where williams — because regulatory changes to protect the financial viability of smaller rivals limit what it can charge. Toto Wolfshareholder and team manager, underlined the evolution of the sports economy in a meeting with FT Frankfurt correspondent Joe Miller.

  • Lester Piggot, revered in all British horse racing, has died aged 86. Read Colin Cameron’s colorful book obituary of the jockey, whose victories on famous tracks such as Epsom cemented loyal public affection despite a conviction for tax evasion in 1987.

  • Cathy Engelbertcommissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Associationsaid the league hopes to name one or two expansion teams by the end of this year, according to The Athletic. The expansion franchises, which would tentatively begin play in the 2024 season, come months after the league raised $75 million in its first-ever funding round, valuing it at $475 million.

Match point

The French Open This afternoon’s women’s final promises to be one for all ages, pitting former teenage girls against Roland Garros champion and newly named world No. 1 Iga Świątek versus Coco Gauffthe youngest woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova in 2004. After their 6-3, 6-1 victory over Italy Martina Trevisan in the semis, the 18-year-old American delivered a stark message after a series of recent mass shootings at his home: “Peace. End gun violence,” she wrote on camera on the ground.

The Scoreboard is written by Samuel Agini and Arash Massoudi in London, Sara Germano, James Fontanella-Khan and Anna Nicolaou in New York, with contributions from the team that produces the Due Diligence newsletter, the FT’s global network of correspondents and the data visualization team

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