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By ESPN Staff

U.S. businessman Barton to buy Serie A club Bari

MILAN -- AS Bari has signed a preliminary deal for the sale of the Serie A club to American businessman Timothy Barton.

The transfer of ownership is to be completed by Oct. 31, at which time Barton will become club president, Bari said in a statement posted on its Web site Tuesday. Vincenzo Matarrese will continue as president in the interim.

"This is a fantastic opportunity," Barton said in a statement. "The Bari fans are passionate about their team, and with the new management, we hope to grow this franchise into one of the most successful and competitive in Europe."

Barton's JMJ Holding specializes in buying and managing luxury properties around the world, according to the company's Web site.

Three English Premier League clubs are controlled by Americans: Manchester United (Malcolm Glazer), Liverpool (Tim Hicks and George Gillett Jr.) and Aston Villa (Randy Lerner). In addition, Stan Kroenke holds a non-controlling 28.58 percent stake at Arsenal.

Derby, in England's League Championship, is controlled by Andy Appleby.

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