Soccer-UPDATE 1-Oaktree to buy stake in Inter Milan in $336 million financing deal - sources

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MILAN, May 19 (Reuters) - Italian champions Inter Milan are close to securing 275 million euros ($336 million) in financing under a deal that will hand a minority stake to U.S. investment firm Oaktree Capital Group, two sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.

Chinese-owned Inter, this month crowned Serie A champions for the first time in 11 years, are suffering like rivals due to the hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and had been discussing an agreement to shore up the club’s finances.

The two sources said Oaktree was set to buy a 31.5% stake currently held by LionRock Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm. Chinese retail giant Suning would retain control with its 68.5% holding.

A third source said Tom Pitts, LionRock’s head of Europe, would step down from Inter Milan’s board of directors.

Oaktree, Lionrock and Suning all declined to comment. ($1 = 0.8194 euros)

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina, writing by Maria Pia Quaglia; editing by Valentina Za and Keith Weir