Football: Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol expects AC Milan stake in 3 to 4 weeks

Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol greets the press as he arrives to the Suvarnabhumi airport, after returning from Milan. -- PHOTO: EPA
Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol greets the press as he arrives to the Suvarnabhumi airport, after returning from Milan. -- PHOTO: EPA

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol is planning a shakeup of fading Italian soccer club AC Milan once he becomes a stakeholder, a deal he said he had no issues financing and that should be wrapped up this month.

Returning to Thailand on Sunday after talks in Milan, Bee would not be drawn on details of a deal long shrouded in secrecy but said money was "not a problem" and talks with former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi were going well.

"We are in negotiations...the next step will be arranging documents, preparing financial papers and legal procedures," Bee told reporters at Bangkok's airport. "After the stake is transferred, there will be some restructuring and rearrangement of a new team."

That could be just what the Rossoneri need. AC Milan have been European Champions seven times but have had no silverware since winning their 18th Serie A title in 2011. The club has amassed debts of 250 million euros (S$372.44 million) and posted a loss of 91 million euros last year.

Italian media reports said Bee, executive director of private equity group Thai Prime, was offering 500 million euros for a 51 per cent stake in Milan.

But Fininvest, the holding company of Silvio Berlusconi, on Saturday said AC Milan would remain in the former premier's hands and Fininvest "foresees the acquisition of a minority stake by a group of investors".

Bee's interest in Milan has taken him from relative obscurity in Thailand, a Southeast Asian nation with more than 25 billionaires, according to Forbes Magazine. Bee is not among them and has refused to say how he would finance any Milan deal.

If the sale goes ahead, Bee would be the latest in a series of Thai businessman with interests in top flight soccer and the first to venture into the Italian game.

Billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, founder of King Power duty free, is owner of Premier League Leicester City while former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's short reign as Manchester City chairman ended in 2008.

That club was sold to a consortium under the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Thaksin also expressed interest in 2004 in jointly buying a 25 per cent stake in England's Liverpool alongside beverages billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, whose Beer Chang brand is on the shirts of Merseyside rivals Everton.