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» 09/25/2013
INDONESIA - ITALY
Erick Thohir , the young Indonesian tycoon with a passion for sport
by Mathias Hariyadi
The 43-year old business man set to buy majority stake in Inter Milan for 350 million euros. In the past he bought shares in American football and basketball teams . In 2012 he was head of the Indonesian delegation at the London Olympics .

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Among young Indonesian business men who in the last five years , have established themselves in the economic and business limelight, the 43-year old Erick Thohir stands out. After a long period of study in the United States , and relative anonymity , a few weeks ago he won the covers of major newspapers - European and non - with the announcement of his next International takeover. A historic football team, founded in Milan ( Italy ) in 1908 , and one which in its centennial history has won several major trophies. For a long time in the hands of the Moratti family , it will end up in the hands of the Indonesian businessman who , among his objectives wants the team to live up to its name and make it more "international" .

Erick Thohir is the son of co- founder of the most important automotive industries in the country, Astra International. In the business world his name is relatively "new", in spite of the substantial personal assets he can already boast . For a long time he has stayed away from the covers of TV and newspapers, until recently, he was known as the owner of some local media agencies.

However, since last year his name has been associated with the football club Milan and Thohir has been propelled to the "national" limelight and football is enjoying - even in Indonesia - a greater visibility. Moreover, his passion for football is a new one : His first great love is basketball dating back to the times when he attended university ( majoring in business and finance) at Glendale University, California.

In the past, through the company Mahaka Group of which he is owner, he bought the newspaper Harian Republika inspired by Islam , which was followed by other print media and radio. But it is in the sports world that he has carved out his niche, over time: President of the Federation of Indonesian basketball from 2006 to 2010 , and for two terms of which the latter still ongoing, president of the Basketball Federation of South-East Asia (2006 - 2014). Thohir was also head of the Indonesian delegation at the London Olympics of 2012.

Together with the historical partner, American attorney Jason Levien , he has bought (the first Asian in history to do so) a club in the NBA, the highest league in American basketball , and American football team DC United, which plays in the Major League. Now his ambitions are moving to Europe and focusing on the most popular sport on the continent , football ,already a multi-billion dollar business that has attracted Arabs , Russians, and ( now ) Asians to major European teams like Chelsea , the Paris St. Germain and so on. Now its Italy's turn where , until now , the football teams were linked to the name of a local entrepreneur : Moratti for Inter Milan, Silvio Berlusconi for AC Milan, Fiat and the Agnelli family for Juventus. The only exception is Rome , owned by an American tycoon .

The deal with the Moratti family for the purchase of the majority of the shares of Inter (about 70%) should be completed in the coming days, with a cost of about 350 million euro. This is confirmation of the personal ambitions of the Indonesian tycoon , who wants to make the team a reference point at an international level. The operation , alongside Erick Thohir , involves Rosan Roeslani and Handy Soetedjo , already partners in the purchase of a minority stake in the Philadelphia 76ers. Asked several times about the deal in Italy, Thohir has always wanted to keep a low profile , playing down enthusiasm . Among the few jokes on the subject, the phrase " If it is possible fine. Otherwise it 's okay . I will devote my attention to an Indonesian football team". And for those who know a little bit the way we do business men of the country, this phrase is further proof of the fact that the deal is imminent and will be successful .

 


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