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Possible Chinese investment muted for Roma

Italian banking group UniCredit has said it would consider the sale of its indirect stake in AS Roma amid reports linking a Chinese investor with the American-owned club, reports, Soccerex Business Daily/. Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore on Thursday said a Chinese investor, possibly Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin, was poised to buy into the holding company that controls the Serie A leader through a reserved capital increase that would dilute current shareholders, especially UniCredit.

"At present no decision on the stake has been taken," UniCredit said in a statement. "(UniCredit) confirms that the asset is not strategic and would be available to consider possible opportunities to extract value from it."

UniCredit holds about 30% of NEEP Roma Holding, the club's holding company, with the rest controlled by a group of US investors, who in December 2011 made RomaSerie A's first foreign-owned club.

Dalian Wanda is one of China's biggest real estate developers. When contacted by Reuters, Shi Xueqing, general manager of Wanda's football business, said he had not heard of the Il Sole 24 Ore report.

Roma said it had nothing to say on the report at this stage.

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Dave Williams

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