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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 19, 2008

Second suitor joins chase for Roma buyout

MILAN, April 19 (Reuters) - Italian soccer club AS Roma has a second potential suitor who could double an existing offer, a lawyer for the controlling family was quoted as saying. AS Roma's top shareholder Italpetroli, linked to the Sensi family, said on Friday it had held talks with a representative of a potential investor, but a sale was not imminent. The statement did not name the potential investor but media reports said representatives of billionaire financier George Soros had met club officials. Soros told reporters on Thursday he had no comment on whether he was eyeing Roma. The Sensis' lawyer, Gian Roberto De Giovanni, said another party was seriously interested in the club, second in the Italian league and battling for the championship. 'The offer no longer satisfies us, we need time. There is another group that can guarantee us double,' he was quoted as saying in Saturday's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. Gazzetta said Soros' representatives had talked of a bid between 250-300 million euros ($396-475 million). The paper, without quoting sources, said the new suitor was from an Arab country. Several other potential investors have been talked about in Italian media for months. Roma shares closed up 12.4 percent at 1.02 euros on Friday. Several English soccer clubs have been bought by foreign investors in recent years because of the commercial strength of the English Premier League across the world. In contrast, there has been little interest in clubs in the rest of Europe. Roma have only a small fan base outside Italy, but investors in soccer clubs sometimes just seek enjoyment and are not always looking for profit.

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