MILAN, 5th August, 2016 (WAM) – AC Milan is the latest European club to be taken over by Chinese owners after Silvio Berlusconi reached a preliminary deal to sell his entire majority stake (99 percent) in the seven-time European champions that he has owned for 30 years.

The deal with a Chinese investor group, which includes the participation of a Chinese state investment fund, values the club at 740 million euros (around $820 million) and requires the investors to spend 350 million euros over three years on improvements, Berlusconi’s investment arm Fininvest said in a statement, carried by Associated Press (AP).

The deal is to be finalised by the end of the year.

Berlusconi owns 99.93 percent of the club. The three-time former premier and billionaire businessman has been negotiating for over a year to sell a stake in the club, failing to reach a deal for a 48-percent stake with Thai investors last year before opening talks in May with the then-unnamed Chinese investors, initially for a 70 percent stake.

Fininvest said Berlusconi’s goal in negotiating the sale was ”to provide AC Milan, through an appropriate ownership structure, with greater financial resources now more essential for competing with the top football clubs of the world.”