Pirelli to conclude long-standing Inter Milan collaboration

Inter Milan and Pirelli have announced they will conclude their just short of three decade-long collaboration at the end of the current campaign.

The Italian tyre manufacturer has sponsored the Serie A club’s shirts since 1995/96, during which time it has become synonymous with Inter. However, the deal, valued at around £10 million per season, will come to a conclusion at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Pirelli’s Chief Executive, Marco Tronchetti Provera, told Rai’s Gr Paralmento radio show that the firm has not taken the option to renew the long-standing agreement and the two parties will go their separate ways.

He confirmed: “We are in talks with [Inter chief executives Alessandro] Antonello, [Guiseppe] Marotta and other Inter directors. We won’t be Inter’s kit sponsor anymore, but our relationship with the club will continue.”

According to reports, Inter is seeking a more financially viable partnership, with the club valuing its shirt sponsorship at closer to €30 million a year.

Moreover, the club’s owners, Suning Holdings, said that it is looking to ‘focus on its retail business’, leaving non-retail assets at risk. The company has held talks with a number of investors but is yet to finalise a deal, after private equity firm BC Partners reportedly ended discussions with Inter.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that Suning had ceased operations in its clubs in China, including Chinese Super League (CSL) champions Jiangsu FC amid financial concerns.

In response, the club released a statement which read: “As part of ongoing capital structure and liquidity management, the business and our ownership are in talks to provide a number of solutions in this respect. Whilst Suning have confirmed their commitment to the ongoing financial support of the club with or without additional external support, it is also sensible and prudent to look outside.

“With that in mind Suning appointed key advisers in Asia to work with them to find suitable partners, be that with an injection of equity capital or otherwise. Talks with key potential partners in this respect remain ongoing.”

Chinese property developer Evergrande Group has been touted to replace Pirelli, Italian news outlet Mediaset reported in December.

The league leaders currently sit three points clear of cross-city rivals AC Milan at the top of the Serie A rankings, despite the off-field woes.