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Ownership Updates: Friedkin Offer Formally Submitted, Al-Baker Deadline Passes

It seems like a sale to Dan Friedkin is imminent, but the circumstances surrounding the sale are anything but clear.

Premiere Of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “All The Money In The World” - Arrivals Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage

You know that saying “blink and you'll miss it”? It doesn't require much explanation, but it's a fun little colloquial way of saying that situations can change quicker than you can bat an eye. That particularly bit of figurative language doesn't apply to Roma's change in ownership, however. In fact, what's the opposite of that friendly little saying? “Blink all you want for as long as you want, nothing has happened”?

Five months after reaching this very same point—Dan Friedkin submitting a formal offer for James Pallotta and his representatives to review—we're here once again. According to RomaPress, Friedkin signed and submitted a formal offer for AS Roma yesterday, an offer believed to be in the €500 million neighborhood, some €100 million less than Pallotta had anticipated.

However, like any shrewd businessman, Pallotta was entertaining multiple offers for his prized asset. The problem for Roma is that there is really only one other interested party, a Kuwaiti-based group fronted by Fahad Al-Baker. This group, whose reported net worth dwarfs both Pallotta and Friedkin, was supposedly given a tight deadline by which to submit a formal offer for the club; a deadline which many believe has already passed, less than a day after the rumor broke.

With insufficient time to review Roma's financial statements and submit a concrete offer, multiple outlets report that Al-Baker's group is no longer interested in acquiring Roma. And who could blame them? If they were truly given less than 24 hours to review, prep and submit a nine-figure deal, it's hard to know whether or not they were being taken seriously by Pallotta to begin with.

There are a few things about this mess that just don't blend:

  1. Presumably James Pallotta wants to maximize the return on his initial investment and make a profit selling Roma, right?
  2. In order to do so, one would think he'd want to solicit as many serious bids as he can
  3. Which, if that's the case, why give a newly interested (and supposedly wealthier) group such a short window in which to do their due diligence and submit an offer?
  4. For that matter, why haven't more interested parties appeared? Roma as a brand has enormous potential, yet we've only seen one group take concrete steps towards purchasing it?

Taken together, those four issues, and the lack of clarity therein, raises some questions about this entire process and Pallotta's desire to actually sell. Dealing solely with one party and treating the others with a lack of sincerity or seriousness doesn't seem like an ideal way to maximize one's take from a deal.

Stay tuned. We've been at this since November, so this definitely won't be the last update.