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Italy's oldest club latest Serie A side to gain U.S. investment

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Italy's oldest football team Genoa became the sixth Serie A side to come under American ownership on Thursday when Miami-based 777 Partners purchased the club from long-time owner Enrico Preziosi.

The private investment firm is the latest U.S. owner in Italy's top league following AC Milan, Fiorentina, Spezia, AS Roma and Venezia.

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Eight of the 20 top-flight Italian clubs now have foreign owners, including China's Suning Group at Inter Milan and Canadian Joey Saputo at Bologna.

A joint statement said 777 Partners will purchase 99.9% of the club's capital, inject fresh funds and "will assume certain related liabilities," without giving any financial details of the deal.

A source close to the matter told Reuters the deal values the club at €150 million ($175.80 million), including debt.

"We are deeply honoured to become part of a club with a history, heritage and tradition as great as Genoa," Josh Wander, founder and Managing Partner of 777 Partners, said.

"We understand and respect the responsibility we are inheriting; we want to preserve and protect the proud legacy of the Rossoblu by aiming for the best possible placing in Serie A."

A Genoa statement said Preziosi will remain on the club's board of directors, while CEO Alessandro Zarbano will continue to manage day-to-day operations.

Preziosi, head of Italian toy manufacturer Giochi Preziosi, took over in 2003 when the nine-time Italian champions were in Serie B.

The club, founded in 1893, were promoted four years later and has stayed in Serie A ever since.

"I always said that I would only leave Genoa to a strong and reliable new owner and I leave it in the hands of 777 Partners," Preziosi said.

In addition to Genoa, 777 Partners own a stake in Spanish soccer club Sevilla, as well as UK basketball team London Lions.