Football: Thai tycoon confirms AC Milan talks, denies offer

AC Milan's coach Filippo Inzaghi gestures during the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and Parma at San Siro Stadium in Milan on Feb 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
AC Milan's coach Filippo Inzaghi gestures during the Italian Serie A football match between AC Milan and Parma at San Siro Stadium in Milan on Feb 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol confirmed on Wednesday he has held "cordial" talks with AC Milan about a possible share purchase but denied media reports he has made a formal takeover offer.

Rumours have swirled over the future of crisis-hit Milan following a slew of reports, primarily out of Italy and Thailand, saying Mr Taechaubol - the executive director of a south-east Asian private equity group - wanted to buy a 50 per cent stake in the club.

Italian media have also reported that Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is interested in a majority takeover and is the favoured candidate of the embattled Serie A club's owner and former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, Mr Taechaubol said he wanted to "clarify some wrong or misleading information" that had appeared in the media.

"I do not deny the interest for a possible share acquisition into such a prestigious club such as AC Milan, but at the moment it's only cordial and private discussions with representatives from the AC Milan group," he said.

"No decision on both parts has been taken nor any agreement has been signed," the statement added.

Mr Taechaubol also denied speaking to Thai media, which had previously reported that the tycoon had confirmed he was looking to make a one billion euros (S$1.54 billion) offer for a majority holding in the club.

The latest reports from Italy claim media tycoon Berlusconi rejected a Singaporean-led bid to buy the club for 970 million euros.

But the reports added he might consider selling a minority stake if it came with a pledge to help build a new stadium.

Milan have been crowned European champions seven times but the days when Mr Berlusconi joined club coaches in holding the continent's most prestigious trophy aloft have long gone.

After 23 games of the current campaign, Milan - who failed to qualify for Europe this season - sit in 11th place, 24 points adrift of leaders and champions Juventus and 12 behind Napoli, who occupy the third and last Champions League qualifying spot.