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AS Roma's Edin Dzeko (L) and Lorenzo Pellegrini (R) before the club's Europa League last 16 match against Sevilla in Duisburg, Germany.

Football

Roma sold to US businessman Friedkin for Sh75.6bn

ROME, Italy, Aug 6 Roma on Thursday announced a change of ownership, with US billionaire Dan Friedkin buying the Serie A club for 591 million euros (Sh75.6bn).

Friedkin, 54, takes over the Italian side from American businessman James Pallotta, 62.

“AS Roma can confirm that an agreement has tonight been reached between AS Roma SPV, LLC, the majority shareholder of AS Roma S.p.A, and The Friedkin Group regarding the sale of the club,” the club said in a statement.

“The operation is valued at around 591 million euros,” the club added. The final sales agreement must be signed before the end of August.

Pallotta bought two-thirds of the club’s shares in 2012, but has had 100 percent ownership since 2014.

Houston-based Friedkin is the chief executive of the Friedkin Group, a consortium notably involved in the automotive and hotel and entertainment industry.

“All of us at The Friedkin Group are so happy to have taken the steps to become a part of this iconic city and club,” said Friedkin in a statement.

“We look forward to closing the purchase as soon as possible and immersing ourselves in the AS Roma family.”

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According to Forbes, his fortune is estimated at just over four billion dollars (3.6 billion euros), which would make him the 504th richest man in the world.

Friedkin’s son Ryan will reportedly be involved in the day to day running of the club.

“Over the last month, Dan and Ryan Friedkin have demonstrated their total commitment to finalising this deal and taking the club forward in a positive way,” said Pallotta.

“I am sure they will be great future owners for AS Roma.”

Boston-based Pallotta had been unpopular among club fans for his rare appearances in Italy and his handling of player transfers and the departures of club legends Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi who were both pushed out of the club.

Roma have had recurring financial difficulties and been sanctioned by European football’s governing body UEFA for breaches of financial fair play.

As a result the club are very active in the transfer market, regularly selling off their best players, to the chagrin of fans.

Pallotta’s great project had been the construction of a new stadium in the south of the capital which was delayed because of legal and bureaucratic issues, and remains at the planning stage.

The high-point of Pallotta’s reign was the club’s sensational Champions League 3-0 second leg comeback in 2018 to beat Barcelona, before losing to Liverpool in the semi-finals.

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The club won their third Serie A title in 2001, but have not lifted any silverware since the Italian Cup in 2008.

This season they finished fifth, missing out on elite European competition for the second year in a row.

They will play Sevilla later Thursday in the Europa League last 16.

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