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Oaktree takes ownership of Inter Milan

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  • A look at Oaktree’s new Italian champion

  • ConocoPhillips’ $22.5 billion deal for Marathon and Elon Musk’s xAI $6 billion raise


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Oaktree Capital Management takes control of Inter

by Bob Clair

Last week, Oaktree Capital Management moved to take control of Italian football champions Inter Milan after the club's Chinese owners, Suning Holdings Group, failed to repay a €400 million loan that matured on May 21st.

Oaktree’s new Inter stewardship hands the firm one of the sport’s most recognizable brands. The club’s transition, however, is perhaps more meaningful for Suning and its ambitious chairman Zhang Jindong—the latest high-profile retreat for the struggling Chinese retail conglomerate.

The group acquired a majority stake in the club in 2016 for €270 million as part of a wave of Chinese investment in European soccer. At the time, Zhang declared the acquisition would “raise the standards of local football, and also raise Suning’s profile as it expands globally.”

Since the purchase, Zhang has instead been forced to weather China's property market downturn, the pandemic, and a failed €20 billion investment in the now-bankrupt China Evergrande Group. His personal net worth has fallen from a peak of $6 billion to near-zero, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, which notes that most of Zhang’s assets are currently pledged as collateral.

In 2021, Oaktree stepped in to provide a €275 million emergency bridge loan to Suning, which was struggling to keep Inter afloat through the pandemic.

That financing, secured against Suning's stake in the club, has now matured into a €400 million liability. Despite frantic efforts to negotiate a rescue deal with bond giant Pimco, talks fell short, and Zhang was forced to hand over the keys.

In a strongly worded statement over the weekend, Inter Milan President Steven Zhang, the 32-year-old scion of Suning's founder, accused Oaktree of undermining attempts to "find an amicable solution" and acting in a manner that "could seriously jeopardize the club's stability."

"As of May 22, funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management have assumed ownership of FC Internazionale Milano," Oaktree said in a statement on Wednesday. "This follows the non-repayment of Oaktree's three-year loan to Inter Milan's holding companies that matured on 21 May with a total balance due of approximately €395m."

The statement also said that Oaktree's "initial focus is on operational and financial stability for the club and its stakeholders." Alejandro Cano, a managing director at Oaktree, added: "We are committed to the long-term success of the Nerazzurri and believe our ambitions for the club are united with those of its passionate fans in Italy and around the world."

A source close to the matter, cited by The Financial Times, said Oaktree wasn’t anticipating an ownership transition. Suning had hired Raine Group and Goldman Sachs 18 months earlier to find an exit that could still salvage some value for the distressed group, though no actionable buyers emerged.

Cross-town rival AC Milan was purchased by RedBird Capital in 2022 for $1.2 billion, and Inter was expected to command a similar valuation.

Though the firm’s new asset may be a surprise, the same source said Oaktree was “in no rush to sell the club” — “We are patient investors … we’re planning to invest time and effort.”

Still, the takeover raises questions about Oaktree's long-term plans for Inter, one of Europe’s highest-profile clubs, with 36 domestic trophies and three European Cups to its name.

In the near term, the focus will be on maintaining the club’s stellar performance—investments in on-field talent—while also adequately managing the €415 million in still outstanding high-yield bonds backed by the club’s media rights.

On Sunday, Inter secured its 20th Serie A title after closing out the season with a 2-2 draw at Verona.


ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) agreed to acquire Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) in an all-stock transaction at an enterprise value of $22.5 billion.

EP Group, controlled by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, agreed to acquire International Distribution Services (LSE: IDS), the parent company of Royal Mail, for £5.3 billion, including debt.

OMERS is exploring the sale of a stake in Leeward Renewable Energy, a Dallas-based wind power operator that could be worth around $3.5 billion, per Bloomberg.

Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) agreed to acquire EyeBio, a clinical-stage biotech focused on treatments for vision loss associated with retinal vascular leakage, for up to $3 billion, including $1.3 billion upfront and $1.7 billion in milestone payments.

Energy Transfer LP (NYSE: ET) agreed to acquire WTG Midstream Holdings, a Permian Basin producer, for around $3.25 billion from Stonepeak, the Davis Estate, and Diamondback Energy (Nasdaq: FANG).

Energy Capital Partners agreed to acquire Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure (Nasdaq: AY), an operator of renewable energy infrastructure assets, for $2.55 billion.

Blue Owl Capital (NYSE: OWL) and Lunate acquired a minority stake in healthcare-focused buyout firm Linden Capital Partners.

Johnson & Johnson agreed to acquire Numab Therapeutics' NM26 asset, an investigational bi-specific antibody for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, for $1.25 billion.

KKR agreed to acquire Emera's minority stake in the Labrador Island Link, a 1,100-kilometer transmission line, for $1.19 billion.

Asahi Kasei offered to acquire Calliditas Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CALT), a Swedish commercial-stage biotech focused on orphan diseases, for $1.1 billion.

Persimmon (LSE: PSN) is considering a £1 billion bid to acquire Cala Group, a rival homebuilder owned by Legal & General.

TransDigm Group (NYSE: TDG) agreed to acquire Raptor Scientific, a provider of A&D test and measurement solutions, from L Squared Capital Partners for $655 million in cash.

Bridgepoint agreed to acquire a majority stake in LumApps, an enterprise social intranet provider, for $650 million.

Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE: CLF) is in talks to acquire the Midwestern U.S. steel assets of NLMK USA, a subsidiary of Russia's Novolipetsk Steel, which could be valued at more than $500 million, per Bloomberg.

Aethon Energy Management agreed to acquire Tellurian's (NYSE: TELL) upstream assets for $260 million.

Oakley Capital invested in ProductLife Group, a provider of outsourced life sciences development, regulatory and compliance services.

PrecisionX Group, a portfolio company of CORE Industrial Partners, agreed to acquire National Manufacturing Co., a Piscataway, New Jersey-based provider of specialty deep and shallow drawn stamping.

Pro-Vac, backed by Gallant Capital Partners, acquired Kinetic, a provider of hydro excavation services in the Rocky Mountain region.

ABN AMRO Bank agreed to acquire Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe Privatbank, a German private bank with €26 billion in assets under management, for around €672 million from Fosun International.

Rental Equipment Investment Corp., a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, acquired Indian Peaks Rental.

Northeastern University agreed to acquire Marymount Manhattan College, a private liberal arts college on the Upper East Side of New York City.

Bernhard Capital Partners acquired Apogee Engineering, a government technology solutions provider.

Cambridge Capital made a majority investment in STAT Recovery, a machine learning-based invoice audit platform for retailers.

Cerberus Capital Management acquired a controlling interest in M1 Support Services, a provider of maintenance services for U.S. government and military aircraft.

Dominus Capital acquired Safe Haven Defense, a window film provider.


Bicycle Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech focused on solid tumor therapeutics, raised $555 million in a PIPE financing.

Sunrise Medical, a Nordic Capital-owned wheelchair maker, plans to raise €240 million in a Frankfurt IPO that could value the company at around €2 billion, per Bloomberg.

Actuate Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech focused on cancer and inflammatory diseases, filed for a $50 million Nasdaq IPO under the symbol ACTU.


Tech, Vertical SaaS, & Misc. Enterprise

xAI, Elon Musk’s AI startup, raised $6 billion in Series B funding at a post-money valuation of $24 billion. Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Andreessen Horowitz, and Valor Equity Partners co-led, with participation from Sequoia Capital and Fidelity.

Frore Systems, a thermal tech startup developing active cooling chips for consumer devices, raised $80 million in Series C funding led by Fidelity, with participation from Prosperity7, Mayfield, Clear Ventures, Addition, Qualcomm Ventures, MVP Ventures, Stepstone Group, and Alumni Ventures.

Transcend, a privacy-centric data governance platform, raised $40 million in Series B funding led by StepStone Group, with participation from HighlandX, Accel, Index Ventures, 01 Advisors, Script Capital, and South Park.

Firefly, a cloud asset management platform, raised $23 million in Series A funding led by Vertex, with participation from Hanaco, SoftBank, InMotion Ventures, and Redseed., a developer of AI tools for scientific knowledge extraction and management, raised €7.64 million in Series A funding led by Silverline Capital.

Rows, a cloud-based spreadsheet, raised €8 million in new funding from Indico Capital Partners.

Switchboard, a data security startup, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Tribe Capital and RockawayX, with participation from Solana Foundation, Aptos Labs, Mysten Labs, Subzero Ventures, Starkware, Arche Capital, Breed VC, and Ascensive.


Cloover, a climate fintech offering energy stock and flow financing solutions, raised $114 million in seed funding led by Lowercarbon Capital, with participation from 9900 Capital and QED.

Solutions by Text, a text-based payments platform, raised $110 million in new funding co-led by Edison Partners and StepStone Group, including a lending facility provided by Stifel Venture Bank.

Supervizor, an online finance quality assurance platform, raised $22 million in funding led by Orange Ventures, with participation from Wille Finance, La Maison Partners, New Alpha Asset Management, Adelie Capital, and ISAI.

Félix, a WhatsApp-based remittance and banking platform, raised $15.5 million in Series A funding. Switch Ventures led, with participation from Castle Island, HTwenty, Contour, and Meli Capital.

Kintsugi, a sales tax compliance software, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Link Ventures led, with participation from Venture Highway, KyberKnight, Plug and Play, DeVC.


Natural Cycles, a developer of women's health apps, raised $55 million in Series C funding led by Lauxera Capital Partners, with participation from Point72.

ExpressionEdits, a biotech focused on AI-enabled protein optimization, raised $13 million in seed funding from Octopus Ventures, Red Alpine, BlueYard Capital, Wilbe Capital, Acequia Capital, Amino Collective, and Hawktail.

HoneyNaps, a South Korean developer of AI-enabled sleep disorder diagnostics, raised $11.6 million in Series B funding from Korea Industrial Bank, Hi Investment Partners, and Quad Investment Management.

Industrials, Greentech, & Other

Infra.Market, an Indian provider of construction materials, raised $50 million from Mars Unicorn Fund.


Goldman Sachs Alternatives raised $13.1 billion for its fifth large-cap senior direct lending fund, plus an additional $7 billion in managed accounts and co-investment commitments.

Energy Capital Partners raised a combined $6.7 billion for its fifth energy infrastructure fund and associated co-investment.

Ardian raised €530 million for its third growth fund.

Clean Energy Ventures raised $305 million for its second early-stage fund.

TVM Capital Healthcare raised $250 million for its latest fund.

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