US fund Oaktree takes over ownership of Inter Milan. GETTY IMAGES

Inter Milan have been taken over by the US fund Oaktree. The move comes after the outgoing group, China's Suning Holdings, defaulted on almost €400 million of debt.

In a statement on Wednesday, Oaktree announced that it had "assumed control" of Inter following the non-repayment of a "three-year loan to Inter Milan's parent companies due on 21 May 2024 with a total balance due of approximately €395 million".

The Chinese conglomerate Suning handed over control of Inter to Oaktree three days after the Milanese team were officially crowned Italian champions for the twentieth time.

Suning borrowed 275 million euros three years ago at an interest rate of over 12 per cent to pay staff and players as the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the finances of clubs across Europe, using its controlling stake in the club as collateral.

When they failed to repay the loan on time, they lost their controlling stake in the Italian club. As a result, Oaktree Capital Management, headquartered in California with offices in various European cities, took over the club's finances.

"Oaktree is committed to achieving the best outcome for the long-term prosperity of Inter Milan, with an initial focus on operational and financial stability for the club and its stakeholders," Oaktree said in its statement.

Lautaro Martinez (captain and top scorer with 24 goals) kisses the Serie A TIM Scudetto title trophy. GETTY IMAGES
Lautaro Martinez (captain and top scorer with 24 goals) kisses the Serie A TIM Scudetto title trophy. GETTY IMAGES

Inter became a formidable force both domestically and internationally after Suning acquired the club in 2016, winning seven trophies, including two Serie A titles, and reaching two European finals. However, the club has been a financial failure, having invested around €900 million since.

Simone Inzaghi's side won this year's league title and the Scudetto with five games to spare, beating AC Milan in a thrilling local derby.

Oaktree, which has $192 billion in assets under management, said it was "committed to working closely with Inter Milan's current management team, partners, league and governing bodies to ensure the club is positioned for success on and off the pitch".

Inter ended up in Oaktree's hands in a similar way to how another US fund, Elliott Management, took control of local rivals Milan in 2018.

Elliott became Milan's owner when Chinese businessman Li Yonghong was unable to repay a loan he took out when he bought the club from Fininvest, owned by the late Silvio Berlusconi, the previous year.

Oaktree Capital Management is a California-based investment firm founded in 1995. It specialises in alternative investment strategies. It has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2012 and has offices in several cities in Europe and Asia. It is known in the industry as one of the world's largest debt investors.

The company is a major investment firm and according to official figures from March 2015, the private company's funds amounted to $99.9 billion.