The historic former president of Telefónica, César Alierta, has sealed this Friday the sale of Real Zaragoza to a consortium of US businessmen, including Joseph Ourghulian, the largest shareholder of Prisa and president of the publishing company of ‘El País’. This has been reported by the club through a statement, in which they have not pointed out the figures of the agreement, which had been in the making for months. Alierta invested in the team in 2014 through the Zaragoza 2032 Foundation together with other Aragonese businessmen.
The operation includes well-known businessmen in the world of American sports. Among the components of the consortium are Jorge and José Mas Santos, who are the sons of a well-known opponent of Castroism in Cuba, and who are among the main names in Florida business. In fact, these brothers are shareholders of Inter Miami, a soccer club created by former Real Madrid player David Beckham. Gustavo Serpa, president of Caracol Radio and owner of the Colombian Millonarios, also appears among the businessmen. There are also well-known names among American investment funds such as Jim Carpenter or Jim Miller.
The agreement contemplates that this consortium be made with the participation that the Alierta family had, of 51%, and that it be expanded to 91% with the inclusion of other shareholders. The operation is linked to the objective that Zaragoza does not go down to the First RFEF. He currently plays in the Spanish second division —known commercially as the Smartbank League—, where he is fourteenth.
The club has reported in a statement that the arrival of the investment group “will lead to a reduction in debt”, one of the problems that has dragged this team away from the first division where it has participated for many years. This is intended to “undertake a short-term investment that ”increase the staff cost limit imposed by the financial control of LaLiga, in order to improve the competitiveness of the first team, as well as a renovation of the infrastructures that improve the experience of our fans“. ”Both aspects are fundamental pillars to make Real Zaragoza a club with better resources and greater potential when it comes to growing both at an institutional and sporting level”, emphasizes the note.
The management of the team will be headed by Raúl Sanllehí, as general director of the club, who has held different positions of responsibility in clubs such as Barcelona or Arsenal. “All areas will be reinforced with professionals with great experience in their respective specialties, seeking the goal of growing in all areas under the premises of professionalism, effort and teamwork”, defends the team about the change in direction that they intend to take over management. The statement also reveals the intention of the new owners to “create synergies” with the other clubs where they are shareholders, such as Inter Miami, Millonarios or the French Racing Club de Lens.
“The new management team is aware of the situation that the club has gone through in recent years and requests the support and patience of the Zaragoza fans for a project to which it will dedicate its maximum effort and enthusiasm, rigor and professionalism at work and financial support to achieve the goal of placing Real Zaragoza in the place that it deserves due to its history and fans”, concludes the note.