By Adedapo Adesanya
American billionaire, Mr Dan Friedkin, has agreed to a deal to purchase the Italian football giant, AS Roma.
On Thursday, the Serie A side in a statement said formal contracts with Mr Friedkin’s consortium were signed on Wednesday, in a deal worth €591 million ($700 million), adding that the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of August.
Mr Friedkin is the owner of Gulf States Toyota, a franchised distributor that sells Toyotas in a number of the southern US states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. His net worth is estimated at $4.1 billion by Forbes.
He will replace Mr James Pallotta, an American businessman who took over the club less than 10 years ago but has failed to turn around the fortunes of the club. A group of US investors led by Pallotta bought AS Roma in 2012.
Mr Pallotta, a businessman of Italian descent, employed eight different coaches as the side has not won a league title since 2001, finishing as runners-up nine times during that span.
The team has missed out on qualification for the Champions League in each of the last two seasons.
“Over the last month, Dan and Ryan Friedkin have demonstrated their total commitment to finalizing this deal and taking the club forward in a positive way. I am sure they will be great future owners for AS Roma,” said Mr Pallotta
This is the first involvement in a major sports club for the Friedkin group which encompasses a consortium of automotive, hospitality, entertainment, golf and adventure companies.
The Friedkin Group owns the Imperative Entertainment studio, aerial cinematography company Pursuit Aviation, and the newly created production company NEON, which was involved in producing or distributing movies.
“All of us at The Friedkin Group are so happy to have taken the steps to become a part of this iconic city and club.
“We look forward to closing the purchase as soon as possible and immersing ourselves in the AS Roma family,” they were quoted in the stated.
With the deal, Mr Friedkin takes over a club boasting a number of high-profile players, including veteran striker Edin Džeko and highly touted forward Justin Kluivert.
The club finished fifth in Serie A this season and restarts its Europa League campaign on Thursday against Sevilla.
Founded in 1927 and based in Italy’s capital, Roma is one of the country’s most-followed teams. The club has a passionate rivalry with local rivals Lazio, with whom it shares a stadium – Stadio Olimpico. The new management also has plans to build a new stadium for the club.
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