CMS advises investor on cross border football club acquisition

International law firm CMS has advised New York-based corporate financier Alex Knaster on the acquisition of a 75% stake in A.C. Calcio Pisa 1909 S.r.l, the owner of Tuscan-based football club AC Pisa 1909. The deal represents Knaster’s foray into the high net worth football club ownership sector.


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A cross border team from CMS in London and Milan assisted Knaster in the transaction which was governed by Italian law. The team negotiated the sale and purchase agreement, sought the relevant approvals under the Serie B regulations and managed to navigate the new relationship between Knaster and the existing management team to ensure there was continuity, an aspect which gave rise to much complexity.

The deal demonstrates the strength of the firm’s cross border teams in assisting clients with core transactional skills and the required specialist sector services.

CMS Head of Leisure and football M&A specialist David Roberts led the team from London, supported by Corporate associate Jas Randhawa. The CMS team in Milan comprised of Corporate partner Paolo Scarduelli, corporate counsel Lorenzo Bocedi and employment counsel Elsa Mora who advised on shareholder and directorship agreements.

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On closing the transaction, David commented, “This is a shrewd deal as Pisa is on the way up and Alex will be a great owner as he understands the need for a club to be part of a community. I am sure they will be in the top flight in no time. We are pleased to have been able to assist Alex on this complex and momentous deal.”

Paolo said, “I am so pleased to have assisted Alex on this deal together with my great CMS colleagues. I am very confident that Alex will bring Pisa Calcio to compete at the highest level!”

The CMS team worked closely with Knaster’s retained corporate finance and football specialist adviser TIFOSY as well as E&Y in Milan who conducted financial due diligence.


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