ROME - Bari have struck a preliminary deal to sell the Serie A club to American real estate businessman Timothy Barton's company, the club's owners said on Tuesday. "This is a fantastic opportunity," Barton told the club website. "The Bari fans are passionate about their team and with new management we hope to grow this franchise into one of the most successful and competitive in Europe." A statement said the sale should be completed by the end of October. Barton started out in the family real estate business in Connecticut. His business career took off when he moved to Texas and began specialising in major land developments after founding his company, JMJ Holdings, in 1990. Bari return to the top flight this season as Serie B champions after eight years in the second tier. They kick off the new campaign against title holders Inter Milan at the San Siro on Sunday. Their Serie A rivals AS Roma and Bologna were recently the targets of attention from Swiss and Albanian investors respectively but both takeover bids broke down.