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MILAN (AP) — The group of Chinese investors buying AC Milan said it is still "strongly committed" to completing the deal after the sale was again delayed on Friday.
The completion of the deal was originally scheduled for December, but Silvio Berlusconi's holding company Fininvest and Sino-Europe Sports agreed to a three-month delay, postponing the closing to Friday.
However, at a shareholders' meeting a further delay was announced.
"In expressing its own disappointment at the delay in finalizing the closing, due to circumstances beyond its control, SES confirms that it is strongly committed to continue working with Fininvest to reach the closing as soon as possible," Sino-Europe Sports said in a statement, adding that "a detailed plan for investments is already ready."
The new date is expected to be March 31.
"Conditions of the contract have not been met so the closing cannot happen today as initially planned," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said earlier at the meeting. "Fininvest points out, however, that it is evaluating the possibility of drawing up an agreement to give up its ownership of AC Milan soon."
The deal with Sino-Europe values Milan at 740 million euros (about $800 million). The investors have already paid 200 million euros as a deposit.
Berlusconi, who purchased Milan 31 years ago, has been negotiating for more than a year to sell the Serie A club.
Giuseppe Scala, representing those with smaller stakes in the club, accused Fininvest of not being transparent and demanded more clarity from the club.
Galliani responded by saying he worked for Milan, not Fininvest.
"Why should I feel like I'm being taken for a fool?" Galliani asked. "There's nothing that doesn't work, corporate life continues as normal and calm, salaries are paid.
"The deal between potential vendors and potential buyers is between Fininvest and SES. They can give answers, not the managing director of Milan. With all the goodwill, I can't respond to questions on where we are, what will happen, what will be AC Milan's future, because I don't know. If Milan will or will not be sold does not depend on me."
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