The sale of AC Milan has moved a step closer after exclusive negotiations with a group of Chinese investors was confirmed by the club.
Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest group released a statement to the Italian media stating a period of exclusivity, in which they can discuss and bring to a conclusion negotiations to buy the Serie A club, has been agreed.
Milan have been the subject of takeover talks for almost two years, with Berlusconi seemingly close to agreeing a sale of almost half of his stake to Thai businessman Bee Taehchaubol last year.
This latest development appears to rule Taehchaubol out of a possible takeover, with instead investors from China given the opportunity to complete a deal. No details were given on the length of the exclusivity period but, with preparations for next season likely to start imminently, a quick resolution will be sought.
"Fininvest have reached an agreement for a period of exclusivity with a group of Chinese investors related to the sale of a stake in AC Milan," read the statement, published by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "At the same time, a memorandum of understanding has been signed, beginning with which negotiations will be discussed in greater depth.
"The period of exclusivity has been defined in a way that makes it compatible with the complexity of the issues being discussed, the demands of the club and appointments dictated by the footballing calendar."
Berlusconi has owned the Rossoneri for over 30 years, but the 79-year-old is reportedly being advised by family members to sell his majority stake. If they lose at home to Roma on Saturday they could miss out on European football for a third straight season -- though they do have the Coppa Italia final against Juventus later this month.