AC Milan are set to be the latest top-tier European football team to move into Chinese ownership after long-time owner Silvio Berlusconi said he had sold the club.
The former Italian prime minister and media magnate told local newspapers on Tuesday that he had sold one of Europe's most successful football clubs, after receiving assurances from the buyers that they would invest significantly to return the club to former glories.
Though he did not disclose the identity of those behind the purchase, Mr Berlusconi said: "Milan has now embarked on this path towards China.
"I accepted what was offered to me, that does not even take into account the value of the brand. But I demanded the commitment of the new owners, who are a group of leading Chinese companies, some also state-owned, to pay at least €400m over the next two years."
The two sides are still finalising the terms of the agreement, according to one person involved in the talks.
The sale comes as Chinese investment in European football has grown rapidly in recent times. Last month, Chinese retail group Suning Holdings paid €270m ($307m) for a 70 per cent stake for Inter Milan.
In March, billionaire Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group agreed a deal with Fifa to sponsor the next four football World Cups for an undisclosed sum. Last year, Wanda acquired a 20 per cent holding in Atlético Madrid football club for €45m. A consortium of Chinese investors paid $400m for a 13 per cent stake in Manchester City in December.
The dealmaking has the tacit approval of the Chinese state. Xi Jinping, China's president and an avowed football fan, has said he wants to make the country a football powerhouse, with the government this year approving a programme that aims to elevate China's national team to among Asia's best by 2030.