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神秘的中国老板能化解AC米兰的财务危机吗?

更新时间:2017-11-18 11:39:16 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

China’s Soccer Push Puts a Storied Team Under Murky Ownership
神秘的中国老板能化解AC米兰的财务危机吗?

BEIJING—When the Chinese businessman Li Yonghong bought A.C. Milan, the world-famous Italian soccer club, virtually nobody in Italy had heard of him.

北京——当中国商人李勇鸿买下世界著名的意大利足球俱乐部AC米兰(A.C. Milan)时,意大利几乎没有人听说过他。

Virtually nobody in China had, either.

在中国也是如此。

Mr. Li had never been named to one of China’s lists of the country’s richest people. The mining empire he described to Italian soccer officials was hardly known even in mining circles.

李勇鸿从未登上中国最富有者的名单。他向意大利足球官员描述自己拥有一个矿业帝国,然而它甚至在矿业界也罕为人知。

Nevertheless, Mr. Li seemed to have what mattered most: money. He bought the club in April for $860 million from Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, to clinch China’s biggest-ever soccer deal.

不过,李勇鸿似乎拥有最重要的一样东西:钱。他在4月份以8.6亿美元从意大利前总理西尔维奥·贝卢斯科尼(Silvio Berlusconi)手中买下了这个俱乐部,达成了中国有史以来最大的一笔足球交易。

Today, Mr. Li’s acquisition of A.C. Milan appears to be emblematic of a string of troubled Chinese deals.

如今,李勇鸿对AC米兰的收购似乎已成为一系列存在众多问题的中国交易的象征。

The soccer club, bleeding money after a spending spree on star players, is seeking new investors or a refinancing of the high-interest loan that Mr. Li took to buy the club. That loan comes due in a year.

这家足球俱乐部在斥巨资购买明星球员之后严重亏损,正在寻找新的投资者,或者用李勇鸿购买俱乐部的高息贷款重新融资。这笔贷款将在一年内到期。

Chinese corporate records show that — on paper, at least — someone else owns his mining empire. That company’s offices were empty on a recent visit, and a sign on the door from the landlord cited unpaid rent. A spokesman for A.C. Milan said Mr. Li’s control of the mining business had been verified by lawyers and banks involved in the transaction.

中国的企业记录显示,至少在官方文件中,李勇鸿的矿业帝国是由其他人所拥有的。记者最近一次访问这家公司时,办公室里没有人,门上有房东的留言,称其未付房租。AC米兰的发言人表示,李勇鸿对其矿业业务的控制权已由参与交易的律师和银行核实。

Chinese records also show a series of business disputes and run-ins between Mr. Li and Chinese regulators.

中国的记录还显示,李勇鸿和中国监管机构之间存在一系列商业纠纷和争议。

China’s emergence as a world economic power came with a ready checkbook for major brand names. Chinese owners now control the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, AMC theaters, the Hollywood production company Legendary Entertainment and A.C. Milan.

中国成为世界经济大国后,中国人开始大举收购著名大品牌。中国业主现在控制着纽约华尔道夫-阿斯托利亚酒店(Waldorf Astoria hotel)、AMC影院、好莱坞制片公司传奇影业(Legendary Entertainment)和AC米兰。

In the case of Mr. Li, the mines that he told A.C. Milan he controlled have been owned by four different people since last year, according to Chinese corporate records. The business changed hands twice for no money, the documents show.

根据中国企业记录,李勇鸿告诉AC米兰由他所拥有的煤矿,实际上自去年以来一直由另外四人拥有。这些文件显示,这家公司曾经两次免费易手。

Mr. Li declined an interview request through A.C. Milan. The club spokesman defended Mr. Li on his business disputes, saying that sometimes he was a victim and that sometimes he was not aware of complicated rules. The spokesman also said the club was evaluating several refinancing proposals and was confident it could cover the loan.

李勇鸿通过AC米兰俱乐部拒绝了采访请求。俱乐部发言人为李勇鸿的商业纠纷辩护说,有时候他是其中的受害者,有时他并不知道复杂的规则。发言人还表示,俱乐部正在评估几项再融资方案,并且有信心可以支付贷款。

Chinese spending on soccer totaled $1.8 billion over the past five years, according to Dealogic, a data provider.

根据数据提供商迪罗基(Dealogic)的数据,过去五年,中国在足球方面的支出总计达到18亿美元。

“There’s a lot of ways to invest in football and the sports industry for much less money,” said Mark Dreyer, who tracks Chinese soccer investments on his website, China Sports Insider. “People were basically using the government’s previous push for sports as a way to diversify into different industries and get their money out of China.”

“有很多方法,可以用少得多的钱投资足球和体育产业,”在自己建立的网站“中国体育内幕网”(China Sports Insider)追踪中国足球投资的马克·德雷尔(Mark Dreyer)说。“人们基本上是利用政府以前对体育的推动,把资金分散到不同的行业,把他们的钱从中国拿出来。”

Mr. Li had plenty of reasons to buy A.C. Milan. President Xi Jinping had professed his love for soccer and wanted China to be a superpower in the sport by 2050. The Chinese government had laid out a plan for increasing sports investment.

李勇鸿有很多理由购买AC米兰。中国国家主席习近平表达了他对足球的热爱,并希望中国在2050年之前成为这项运动的超级大国。中国政府已经制定了增加体育投资的计划。

An acquisition of A.C. Milan would be a marquee deal. A decade ago, the club was home to some of soccer’s biggest talents, including Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, who is known as Kaká, and Andrea Pirlo. It was a seven-time European champion.

收购AC米兰会是一项很风光的交易。十年前,这家俱乐部拥有一些足球界最负盛名的天才,包括被称为卡卡(Kaká)的里卡多·伊泽克森·多斯桑托斯·莱特(Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite)和安德烈亚·皮尔洛(Andrea Pirlo)。俱乐部曾经七次获得欧洲冠军。

But it has not won an Italian championship for six years or a European title for 10. Fans welcomed Mr. Li’s arrival as a potential catalyst. This summer, A.C. Milan began to spend on new players in a way that seemed to signal a desire to compete again.

但如今它已经有六年没有拿到意大利联赛冠军,暌违欧洲冠军也有10年之久。球迷们对李勇鸿的到来表示欢迎,认为这有可能对俱乐部起到促进作用。今年夏天,AC米兰开始花钱购买新球员,似乎表现出再次争冠的愿望。

Still, Mr. Li and Mr. Berlusconi struck the deal at a difficult time.

尽管如此,李勇鸿和贝卢斯科尼是在一个非常困难的时期达成了这笔交易。

Mr. Li set up companies in the British Virgin Islands and Luxembourg that would put the club’s legal ownership outside China, according to Marco Fassone, A.C. Milan’s chief executive officer. Mr. Li also borrowed about $354 million from the hedge fund firm Elliott Management, a loan he must pay back by October 2018. A spokeswoman for Elliott declined to comment.

据AC米兰首席执行官马尔科·法索内(Marco Fassone)称,李勇鸿在英属维尔京群岛和卢森堡设立了多家公司,因此,该俱乐部在法律上的所有权在中国境外。李勇鸿还从对冲基金公司埃利奥特管理公司(Elliott Management)借了约3.54亿美元,这笔贷款必须在2018年10月前偿还。埃利奥特的一名发言人拒绝置评。

A.C. Milan remains debt laden and unprofitable, and could have trouble repaying what it owes on its own. It spent about $274 million to sign 11 players this summer, according to the club spokesman, making it among the biggest spenders in European soccer.

AC米兰依然负债累累,入不敷出,可能难以偿还自己欠下的债务。据该俱乐部的发言人称,今年夏天,它花了约2.74亿美元签了11名球员,成为欧洲足球界出手最阔绰的俱乐部之一。

In August, A.C. Milan had to wait for the transfer of two players it had signed from other teams because it had not deposited the required bank bonds. The club blamed a timing issue for the delay, and the transfers were eventually completed. The team is in seventh place but, with more than two-thirds of the season left to play, must finish among the top four to earn a spot in European soccer’s elite Champions League next season. The team could lose valuable television revenue if it fails to reach that level.

由于没有按规定存入足够的银行债券,AC米兰在8月不得不等待从其他球队签下的两名球员转会。该俱乐部将延迟归咎于没掌握好时间,并且转会最终完成。这支球队目前排名第七,但本赛季还剩下超过三分之二的时间,他们必须挤进前四名,才能参加下个赛季的欧洲冠军联赛。如果这支球队达不到这个水平,它可能会失去巨额电视收入。

It is unclear how much Mr. Li’s wealth might help the club address its troubles.

目前尚不清楚李勇鸿的财富能在多大程度上帮助该俱乐部解决困境。

He was initially unknown to the deal makers trying to sell the club, the people involved in the transaction said. He was originally part of a group that included Sonny Wu, a well-known investor who is chairman of the private equity firm GSR Capital, these people said. But Mr. Wu pulled out of the deal.

参与交易的人士表示,最初,试图出售该俱乐部的交易撮合者对李勇鸿一无所知。这些知情人士表示,他最初是一个群体中的一员,那个群体中包括知名投资人、私募公司GSR Capital的董事长伍伸俊(Sonny Wu)。不过,伍伸俊后来退出了该交易。

In an email, Mr. Wu said he had not talked to bankers about Mr. Li or his consortium. Rothschild & Company, the investment bank that advised Mr. Li, declined to comment.

伍伸俊在接受电子邮件采访时表示,他没有跟银行谈起过李勇鸿或他的财团。推荐李勇鸿的投资银行罗斯柴尔德(Rothschild & Company)拒绝置评。

Mr. Li told A.C. Milan that his holdings included phosphate mining operations in the city of Fuquan in Guizhou Province.

李勇鸿向AC米兰表示,他持股的企业包括贵州省福泉市的磷矿开采公司。

But Chinese corporate filings show that the mines are owned by another party: Guangdong Lion Asset Management, an investment company. And Guangdong Lion has had a complicated ownership record over the past two years, involving a number of people with similar family names. (One court proceeding suggests Mr. Li has a relationship with Guangdong Lion, although it is not clear what kind.)

不过,据中国企业备案文件显示,这些煤矿属于另一个公司:广东狮子汇资产管理公司,那是一家投资公司。该公司在过去两年里的所有权记录非常复杂,涉及很多有着相似姓氏的人(法院的一项诉讼表明,李勇鸿与广东狮子汇有关系,但不清楚是何种关系)。

Originally, Guangdong Lion was ultimately owned by two investors, Li Shangbing and Li Shangsong, according to filings. Like Li Yonghong, the two men come from the same area of Maoming, a city on China’s southern coast, according to the documents. But in a phone interview, Li Shangbing said he did not know Li Yonghong.

据备案文件显示,在初期,广东狮子汇最终归两名投资者所有——李尚兵和李尚松。据文件显示,这两名男子和李勇鸿一样,都来自中国南部沿海城市茂名的同一个地区。不过,李尚兵在接受电话采访时表示,他不认识李勇鸿。

Li Shangsong, who declined to comment, sold his interest in Guangdong Lion in 2015 to a person named Li Qianru, according to the documents. The documents did not include personal information about Li Qianru, who could not be reached for comment.

李尚松拒绝置评。据文件显示,李尚松于2015年将自己在广东狮子汇的股份卖给了一个名叫李倩茹的人。文件中没有李倩茹的个人信息,记者无法联系要求置评。

In May 2016, according to the filings, Li Shangbing and Li Qianru, sold Guangdong Lion to yet another Li: Li Yalu. The sale price: $0. The filings do not provide personal information about Li Yalu.

据文件显示,2016年5月,李尚兵和李倩茹把广东狮子汇卖给了另一个姓李的人:李亚路。售价:0元。文件没有提供李亚路的个人信息。

Three weeks later, Li Yalu sold a half stake in Guangdong Lion to a similarly obscure investor, Zhang Zhiling. The price: $0. Neither could be reached for comment.

三周后,李亚路把广东狮子汇一半的股份卖给了一位同样鲜为人知的投资人张志玲。售价:0元。记者无法联系到两人要求置评。

Li is a common surname in China, and the relationships among the various Lis are unclear. The A.C. Milan spokesman declined to comment.

李在中国是一个很常见的姓,尚不清楚这些姓李的人之间的关系。AC米兰的发言人拒绝就此置评。

Li Yonghong, the A.C. Milan owner, and Li Shangbing have two things in common.

AC米兰的所有者李勇鸿和李尚兵有两个共同点。

The first is a relationship with Guangdong Lion. A Chinese court cited Li Yonghong and Guangdong Lion in April for failing to resolve a loan dispute with another Chinese company, saying both parties had disappeared. The court did not specify the relationship. The A.C. Milan spokesman said that Li Yonghong had merely guaranteed the loan and that “he is a victim in this case.”

一个是他们与广东狮子汇的关系。中国一家法院今年4月宣布,李勇鸿和广东狮子汇未能解决与另一家中国公司的贷款纠纷,称双方都已消失。该法院没有具体说明它们之间的关系。AC米兰的发言人称,李勇鸿只是担保这笔贷款,“他是本案的受害者”。

The second is an interest in investing in European sports.

另一个共同点是他们对欧洲体育的投资兴趣。

In May 2016, a day before Li Shangbing sold Guangdong Lion for no money, he started a company called Sino-Europe Sports Asset Management Changxing Company, according to China’s corporate database.

根据中国企业数据库的信息,2016年5月,在无偿出售广东狮子汇的前一天,李尚兵创办了一家公司,名为“中欧体育资产管理长兴有限公司”。

Two days after he registered the Sino-Europe firm, another person registered a new company with a strikingly similar name: Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing Company. The two companies’ headquarters were in the same building in the city of Huzhou.

在他注册中欧公司两天后,另一个人注册了一个与他的公司名字惊人相似的新公司:“中欧体育投资管理长兴有限公司”。两家公司的总部位于湖州市的同一幢大楼里。

Sino-Europe Sports Investment owns a stake in A.C. Milan as a result of its role as a shareholder in Rossoneri Sport Investment, a Chinese company that is part of the group led by Li Yonghong that owns the soccer club.

中欧体育投资公司持有AC米兰的股份,因为它是罗森内里体育投资管理长兴有限公司的股东。后者属于AC米兰所有者李勇鸿领导的那个投资集团。

In the phone interview, Li Shangbing denied setting up either Sino-Europe company and said he did not own any part of A.C. Milan. He declined to answer further questions. A.C. Milan declined to comment on Li Shangbing. The listed owner of the Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing Company, Chen Huashan, could not be reached for comment.

在电话采访中,李尚兵称两家中欧公司都不是他成立的,并表示自己没有AC米兰的股份。他拒绝回答进一步的提问。记者无法联系到中欧体育投资管理长兴有限公司登记的所有人陈华山请其置评。

Guangdong Lion’s listed headquarters are in a fancy skyscraper in Guangzhou. In August, the offices were closed, with an eviction notice on the door. Inside, desks and chairs were in disarray, computers were missing hard drives, and maggots festered in a trash can.

广东狮子汇注册的总部位于广州一栋高端大楼里。8月,该公司的办公室关闭,墙上贴着腾退通知。屋里桌椅胡乱摆放着,电脑中没有硬盘,一个垃圾桶里长出了蛆虫。

The phone number listed for Guangdong Lion connects to a woman who said she helped companies register with Chinese regulators.

拨打广东狮子汇登记的电话号码后,接电话的一名女子自称是帮助公司在中国监管机构注册的。

Li Yonghong has an extensive business history, but Chinese records show it includes disputes with regulators and others.

李勇鸿有丰富的从商经历,但中国的记录显示其曾多次与监管机构和其他人发生纠纷。

In 2013, China’s securities watchdog fined Mr. Li $90,250 for failing to report the sale of $51.1 million in shares of a real estate company. A.C. Milan said Mr. Li had simply been unfamiliar with listing rules.

2013年,由于出售一家房地产公司价值3.4亿元人民币的股票但未作披露,李勇鸿被中国证券监管机构处以60万元罚款。AC米兰称李勇鸿只是不熟悉上市公司规则。

In 2011, that same real estate company said in a stock filing that Mr. Li was the chairman of Grand Dragon International Holding Company, a Chinese aviation company. Grand Dragon said in June that he had no present or past association with the company. The A.C. Milan spokesman said he had no knowledge of this.

2011年,这家房地产公司在股票备案文件中称,李勇鸿是中国航空公司龙浩国际集团有限公司的董事局主席。龙浩6月表示,该公司与李勇鸿不存在任何关联。AC米兰发言人说他不知道这件事。

In 2004, Mr. Li’s family business, the Guangdong Green River Company, teamed up with two other companies to bilk more than 5,000 investors out of as much as $68.3 million, according to The Shanghai Securities News, the official newspaper of China’s financial watchdogs. They had sold contracts for lychee and longan orchards and promised investors hefty returns, according to the report.

据中国金融监管机构的官方报纸《上海证券报》报道,2004年,李勇鸿的家族企业广东绿色山河开发有限公司与另外两家公司合作,骗取5000多名投资者6830万美元。报道称,它们售卖荔枝和龙眼果园合同,并向投资者许以丰厚回报。

Mr. Li’s father and brother were sentenced to jail. Mr. Li was investigated but not accused of wrongdoing, the report said.

李勇鸿的父亲和弟弟被判刑。报道称,李勇鸿受到调查,但没有受到指控。

A.C. Milan said the episode had nothing to do with Mr. Li, adding that “he was not aware of the situation until the investigation.”

AC米兰说此事与李勇鸿无关,并接着表示“他直到调查才知道情况”。

Amid Chinese concerns about deals abroad, China’s purchases of soccer teams with prestige names is likely to slow considerably for some time to come.

在对海外交易心存忧虑之际,中国对著名足球队的收购可能会在接下来的一段时间大幅放缓。

“If outbound investment should have the purpose of ‘strengthening the nation,’ even within the broadest of definitions,” Peter Fuhrman, chairman of the investment bank China First Capital, said in an email, “buying a soccer team in the U.K. or Italy would hardly seem to qualify.”

“如果对外投资要以‘强国’为目的,即便是按照最宽泛的定义,”投资银行中国首创(China First Capital)的董事长傅成(Peter Fuhrman)在电子邮件中说,“收购英国或意大利的足球队也很难符合条件。”

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