Friday, April 18, 2008
Takeover talk builds at title chasing Roma
MILAN, April 18 (Reuters) - AS Roma's top shareholder Italpetroli held talks with a representative of a potential investor on Thursday, but a sale of the Italian soccer club is not imminent, Italpetroli said on Friday.
The statement did not name the potential investor and said
that no agreement was reached.
'No sale proceedings have begun,' the statement added.
Media reports on Friday said representatives of billionaire
financier George Soros had met club officials. Soros told
reporters on Thursday he had no comment on whether he was
interested in Roma.
Roma are second in the Italian soccer league and are four
points behind leaders Inter Milan with five games remaining in
the chase for the championship.
Manchester United knocked Roma out of the lucrative European
Champions League earlier this month, but Roma will almost
certainly be back in the competition next season.
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 though several parties are interested in buying
Roma, media reports have said.
Roma have only a small fan base outside Italy, but analysts
say investors in soccer clubs are not always looking for profit
and instead enjoy the ups and downs of owning a sports team.
Italian businessman Pierluigi Toti categorically denied on
Friday he wanted to take over the club.
Italpetroli, linked to the Sensi family, which runs Roma,
said in November it had been informed by a third party of
possible interest from an unnamed U.S. investor.
Tom Hicks, American co-owner of English club Liverpool,
denied he was interested in Roma after the Italian media
speculated that the statement referred to him.