(Bloomberg) -- The days of Suning Holdings Co. Ltd. at the helm of FC Internazionale Milano SpA look numbered as its deadline draws near to either repay debt due to Oaktree Capital Management or risk ceding control. 

Even as the storied football club celebrates its 20th Serie A title, its majority owner needs to pay close to €400 million ($436 million) on Monday to the California-based asset management company. 

The funds can be wired as late as Tuesday following Monday’s bank holiday in Luxembourg - where Suning’s holding companies, which took out the debt, are based. 

After that deadline Oaktree will have the right to effectively take the collateral that was pledged to the financing in 2021 - namely, a majority equity stake in the club.

Another potential alternative is a short-term extension of the loan at a higher interest rate, which would give Suning more time to sell the club and use the proceeds to repay California-based Oaktree.   

The ball is in Oaktree’s court, though. Founded in 1995 and with $192 billion of assets under management, Oaktree is an opportunistic investor through its credit, private equity, real assets and equities strategies. 

It extends credit lines to companies which may not have access to traditional funding sources, and monetizes those lines by receiving interest. 

In the case of the money loaned to Suning’s Grand Tower Sarl, the 12% coupon came with a payment-in-kind option, meaning it could be repaid with cash or with additional debt. The latter option was picked for three years, the whole duration of the financing. Oaktree granted the money through its own Luxembourg-based entity, OCM Luxembourg Sunshine Sarl.  

However, in case borrowers fall behind on their debt obligations, creditors can enforce on the collateral - usually equity in the company, or its assets - as outlined in the debt documents. 

Oaktree has done this in multiple cases over the years. One of the most dramatic instances was when it seized a plot of land in Hong Kong where the chairman of China Evergrande Group - once the biggest property developer in the country - planned to build a mansion. 

In a report last year, the data and analytics platform Football Benchmark estimated Inter Milan’s valuation at about €1.2 billion to €1.3 billion.

Last-Minute Talks 

Suning has tried to secure the money to repay Oaktree from other sources. It’s been in advanced talks with US investment manager Pacific Investment Management Co., or PIMCO, for €435 million of new funding, but the timing was too tight for a deal to be reached before May 20. 

Pimco Deal With Inter Milan Owner at Risk as Deadline Looms 

On the other hand, Suning and its advisers - Raine Group and Goldman Sachs Group Inc - have also had an open channel of talks with Oaktree. Oaktree had put forward its own extension proposal, but Suning opted to push the discussions with Pimco forward weeks ago as it proposed a longer-dated financing at a lower interest rate, said people familiar with the matter, who spoke to Bloomberg News on the condition of anonymity. 

Inter Milan’s owner on Saturday slammed Oaktree in a sharply-worded statement on the club’s website. Steven Zhang said its creditor had lacked “meaningful engagement,” and claimed its behavior posed “potential risks to the club that could seriously jeopardize its stability.” Oaktree declined to comment. 

An enforcement process in Luxembourg is quite straightforward. Many European companies issue debt out of entities housed in this jurisdiction as guarantees in favor of creditors are considered to hold more safely, especially versus other legal systems like Italy’s. 

Italian Firms Seek Workaround to Tap Private Credit’s Billions

If it happens, it won’t be the first time a creditor were to take ownership of a football club in Milan. In 2018, Elliot Management swapped debt of AC Milan into equity of the club after the previous owner defaulted on its liabilities. 

While AC Milan’s obligations toward Elliott at the time constituted the majority of the club’s debt stack, even in the case Oaktree were to write off its debt in exchange for ownership in Inter Milan, the club would have other outstanding liabilities.

That includes €415 million in high yield bonds the club sold to institutional investors, which come due in early 2027. Those notes are issued out of Inter Media and Communication SpA, a special purpose vehicle housing the broadcast and sponsorship rights of Inter Milan. The steady cash flow from those revenues first repays the obligations toward the bondholders, before trickling through to the rest of the group. 

--With assistance from Irene García Pérez, Tommaso Ebhardt and Luca Casiraghi.

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