China's richest man 'eyes Roma stake'
Roma could soon be part-owned by the man believed to be the richest in China, according to a report.
Wang Jianlin, head of the Dalian Wanda Group and -- according to Forbes -- the richest man in the People's Republic of China, could soon hold a stake in the Serie A leaders.
Italy's Sole 24 Ore newspaper revealed details of preliminary contact between Jianlin's representatives and Italy's Unicredit Bank, which holds 39 percent of the Neep Roma Holding's majority 78 percent stake in the Giallorossi.
On Thursday night, Unicredit confirmed in a statement that negotiations are underway, expressing their "interest in evaluating potential opportunities" to sell their stake, but confirming that "no decisions have yet been taken."
Roma are currently controlled by a consortium, led by American businessmen Thomas Di Benedetto and James Pallotta, which has 69 percent of the controlling 78 percent stake, and Unicredit. Tikal Plaza SA owns 2.5 percent, with the remaining 19.5 percent spread among minor investors.
Unicredit has made no secret of its interest in selling its stake, telling Italy's ANSA news agency that it is a "non-strategic asset." According to speculation in Italy, a deal could go through early next week with fresh capital subsequently pumped into the Serie A club.
Last week, Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir became the first Far East investor in Serie A when he took a 70 percent stake in Inter Milan.