Chinese electronics retailer Suning to buy majority stake in Italian soccer club Inter Milan

Chinese electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd today struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Italian soccer club Inter Milan for €270 million ($307 million).

Suning Sports Group, the parent company of Shenzhen-listed Suning Commerce Group, will pay €270 million for 68.55 per cent stake.

Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, president of Inter Milan, who had acquired a 70-per cent stake in 2013, will reduce his stake to 31-per cent under the current deal.

Former Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti will sell off his entire just under 30 per cent stake and will leave the club.

The deal ''helps Suning to capture the trend of sports and fitness interest in China, raise the standards of local football, and also raises Suning's profile as it expands globally,'' Suning Holdings chairman Zhang Jindong said in a speech in Nanjing at an event held to announce the deal.

Thohir said. ''This new partnership with Suning Holdings Group is a game changer for Inter Milan. Over the past two and a half years we have been building on the existing solid base at the Club and this new partnership will enable us to take the next step in the project and return Inter Milan to its rightful place in world club football.''

Founded in 1908, Inter Milan is one of the world's most successful football teams. The club's trophy haul includes 18 Italian league titles, 7 Coppa Italias, 5 Italian Super Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, 2 European Cups, 1 UEFA Champions League, 2 Intercontinental Cups and 1 FIFA Club World Cup.

Inter Milan is one of the seven teams to have done the treble – Champions League, National Championship and National Cup – in the same year (2010), and the only Italian club never to have been relegated in its 108-year history.

Suning, which also controls Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning, was founded in 1990 as a small-sized business. It is now one of the top three Chinese non-state owned enterprises with close to $50 billion in annual sales.

It has over 1,600 chain stores covering over 600 cities in China, Hong Kong and Japan.