AC Milan will push to conclude the sale of the Serie A giants to a Chinese consortium “as soon as possible” after announcing a new delay Friday.

The club’s holding company Fininvest said the sale had been postponed after failure to meet the March 3 deadline.

Milan’s media tycoon owner Silvio Berlusconi agreed in August 2016 to sell the club to Sino-Europe Sports (SES) in a deal that values the Serie A giants at 740 million euros ($825.4 million).

However the takeover was postponed again several days ahead of Friday’s official announcement after it became clear the Chinese consortium, which has made a down payment of 200m euros, did not have the necessary funds to complete the deal by the agreed date of March 3.

Although sources told AFP in midweek that club bosses hoped to conclude the deal by the end of the month, Fininvest — Berlusconi’s holding company — said it would look to have the takeover completed “as soon as possible”.

Fininvest “welcomes the opportunity to enter into an agreement with Sino-Sports Europe that will lead to the sale of Milan as soon as possible,” said a statement read out to shareholders by club CEO Adriano Galliani on Friday morning.

Earlier this week, sources told AFP the consortium had: “Asked to postpone the signing by a month.  That should be possible with the payment of a new instalment of 100 million euros.”

Amid reports the consortium was encountering difficulties after the withdrawal of one of its investors, Galliani on Friday faced the wrath of club shareholders whose patience is wearing thin.

A report on the website of Gazzetta dello Sport said shareholders had complained Friday that “Fininvest has not been transparent”, while others were “shocked by the behaviour of Fininvest”.

Milan’s neighbours, Inter Milan, are already under Chinese ownership. – Agence France-Presse

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