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Soccer-Inter Milan seeks new bidders after BC Partners exclusive talks - sources

* Chinese owner Suning widens the net for investors

* Inter Milan suffer with empty stadiums, sponsorship cuts

* BC Partners may still submit a bid, source says

MILAN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Inter Milan’s Chinese owner will look for other investors in the loss-making Italian Serie A team after exclusive talks with private equity firm BC Partners ended without a deal, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Chinese retail giant Suning , which owns 68.5%, is weighing options to pump fresh resources into the club, which is suffering like rivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic fallout.

Exclusive talks with Suning allowing London-based BC Partners to look into the club’s books expired on Jan. 31 without a bid being formulated, the sources said.

However, BC Partners still aims to submit a bid in the next few days, one source close to the private equity firm said, adding that due diligence took longer than expected because Inter’s financial situation is “complicated”.

Suning’s price expectations are higher than what BC Partners would be willing to offer, the sources said. Suning eyed a valuation of more that 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) including debt while BC Partners was considering offering around 750 million euros, they said.

REVENUE DROP

A source close to Suning said the Chinese firm would now look for other potential investors.

Inter are facing a drop in revenues due to the virus crisis, as matches are played in empty stadiums and companies cut sponsorship budgets. Fresh spending restrictions for soccer clubs imposed by Chinese authorities further complicate matters.

The “Nerazzurri” (Black-Blue) posted a 102 million euro loss in the financial year ended June 30.

U.S. investment fund Fortress and Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala could be interested in investing in Inter Milan, with Suning also considering a hybrid solution involving equity and debt, Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Tuesday.

Private equity firm EQT is also studying the situation, the daily added. There has been no official reaction to the report from Fortress, Mubadala or EQT.

$1 = 0.8310 euros Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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