For weeks we have been talking about the negotiations around a possible transfer of the Roma soccer team – one of the main Italian and European soccer teams – to the US financial holding company of the Friedkin Group. Time reporters Alessandro Austini and Filippo Biafora had talked about the negotiations for the first time last October 24, explaining that the US group had started an analysis on the accounts of Rome to evaluate the opportunity of the deal.
Sunday 29 December, after several newspapers had written that the negotiation was now concluded, also talking about the figures of the operation in detail, with a press release, Rome confirmed the existence of the negotiation “at the request of Consob”, the agency that controls the Italian stock exchange, but denied that a definitive agreement had been reached between the parties.
According to what the newspapers had written, which still give the agreement in fact, the sale would provide that the Friedkin Group will take over all the shares of Roma held by AS Roma Spv Llc, the company based in the United States owned by James Pallotta , the current president and owner of the team. The sale price would be around € 750 million, which includes 271 million of the company’s debts and 150 million in capital increase. Together with AS Roma Spv Llc, the Friedkin Group would also take over the project for the new stadium in Rome, which had a long and troubled process and that for the moment it has stopped, but it should be released in the coming weeks (checks and bureaucratic documents have been concluded: the city council of Rome has been waiting for months to decide to vote on the variant to the urban planning convention necessary to start the tenders).
If the transaction were to be concluded, Roma would have an American owner for the third time in less than ten years: the first was the businessman Thomas DiBenedetto, who in 2011 took over 60 percent of the company from the Sensi family, together with others three entrepreneurs, including Pallotta. The remaining 40 percent of Roma’s shares remained at Unicredit until 2014, when it was purchased by Pallotta, who in the meantime in 2012 had been appointed president in place of DiBenedetto. The conclusion of the negotiation on the numbers of which the newspapers speak would also demonstrate the great work done by the current US property in strengthening the club and transforming Rome from an old and in crisis team to a full of high-profile players, and from a club family run to a reality with visibility, international ambitions and notoriety. In 2011 Roma had almost gone bankrupt (and therefore in the hands of the banks) and a total of around 110 million euros was valued; today it would fall to almost five times as much,the highest figure ever for an Italian team , more than what Milan and Inter cost their current owners.
Tempo writes that the new president of the company could be Dan Friedkin, the group’s CEO, or his son Ryan. The Friedkin Group mainly controls Gulf States Toyota Distributors, a network of Toyota car dealerships in the southern United States, founded in the 1960s by billionaire Thomas H. Friedkin, father of Dan, who died in 2017. Over the years the group, based in Houston, Texas has become one of the largest Toyota distributors in the world, with a turnover of around $ 9 billion.
Forbes magazine estimates Dan Friedkin’s personal assets are $ 4.3 billion, making him the 504th richest man in the world. Friedkin also owns a film production company, Imperative Entertainment, with which he produced the Swedish film The Square, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and Ridley Scott’s All Money of the World, 2017 film. Friedkin himself made a directorial film, entitled Lyrebird , which was presented last August at the Telluride Film Festival.