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US billionaire Commisso buys Italy’s Fiorentina

Italian-American media magnate Rocco Commisso on Thursday completed the purchase of Serie A team Fiorentina, the Italian club announced.

Reported to be worth in the region of 170 million euros ($190 million), the deal brings an end to the 17-year ownership of the Della Valle family.

The 69-year-old Commisso is chairman of cable television provider Mediacom group, and owns New York Cosmos soccer club.

He had in recent years tried to buy AC Milan.

“I have always been a fan of Italian football and there are no words to describe how incredibly honoured I am to have the opportunity to contribute to writing the next chapter in the history of a legendary club like Fiorentina,” said Commisso.

Born in Calabria in southern Italy he moved to the United States in 1962, with his mother and two sisters to join his father and brother, who had moved there six years earlier.

“Florence is known throughout the world as a city that represents the best of Italian culture,” said Commisso.

“In these three years of contacts to acquire the club, I have developed a profound awareness of how important La Viola is for this city and its fans.”

The Della Valle family, which includes entrepreneur Diego Della Valle, who controls luxury group Tod’s, purchased the Tuscany club in 2002 after the former two-time Serie A winners went bankrupt and were relegated.

“Diego and Andrea deserve great honours for having saved this company from financial collapse,” said Commisso. “They leave solid foundations on which to build the club”.

Fiorentina finished 16th last season, just three points above the drop zone. Their last trophy was a sixth Coppa Italia in 2001.

They won two Serie A titles in 1956 and 1969.

Della Valle brothers Diego and Andrea said they chose the offer which they believed to be best for the club.

“Among the various offers we received, we prioritised the one that wasn’t most financially advantageous for us but the one we believe gives the greatest guarantees of a solid and passionate future to the Viola, given the knowledge and competence that Rocco Commisso already has in the world of football,” they said in a statement.

Source: AFP

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