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AC Milan strike exclusivity deal with Chinese investors

AC Milan's holding company Fininvest has announced that a Chinese investor group has been granted exclusivity over the potential sale of the club.

President Silvio Berlusconi has long been reported to be negotiating with a consortium from China after Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol's proposal to buy the club failed to progress into concrete plans.

Following a meeting on Tuesday, Fininvest has confirmed that negotiations over the sale of a stake of the club to the unnamed consortium can now begin.

"Fininvest has reached an agreement for a period of exclusivity with a group of Chinese investors in relation to the sale of a percentage of AC Milan," an official statement released through Milan's website read.

"At the same time, a reminder of the understanding was signed, which will be the starting point to launch negotiations.

"The period of exclusivity is defined so as to be compatible with the complexity of the issues to be discussed, the needs of the club and the commitments determined by the footballing calendar."

The news comes a week after Milan ultras released a statement demanding that the club be sold, or that CEO Adriano Galliani resign, over what they considered to be gross mismanagement at San Siro.

Berlusconi had stated he would only consider selling Milan, who last month announced losses of €89.3million for the financial year, to a buyer who could "continue its glorious history" and guarantee its fiscal security.

Financial broker Salvatore Galatioto, whose firm has helped to orchestrate the sale of sports franchises in the United States in recent years, stated in April that talks with an investment group from China were progressing rapidly.

"For obvious reasons I cannot reveal who the potential buyer is. I can only say that it is a Chinese group that has big ambitions and that is very, very interested in the club," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I would say if things went the right way, it's anywhere from six to eight weeks [until a deal is concluded]."

The Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, was forced to deny he was launching a takeover bid himself after he admitted in an interview that it would be his "dream" to own the club.