Exor (EXOR.AS), the holding business of the Agnelli family and Juventus (JUVE.MI) owners, denied a story in the daily Il Giornale on Monday that it intended to sell the Serie A team.
Shares of Juventus, the most successful soccer team in Italy, initially surged as high as 4.8%. Still, they swiftly lost ground, falling to only 0.3% by 0900 GMT, almost in line with the overall performance of the Milan Stock Exchange (.FTITLMS).
After the newspaper claimed that the holding firm thought Juventus’ recent financial performance was “no longer sustainable” and that it had been humiliated by the soccer club’s continuous legal issues, an Exor spokeswoman said that Il Giornale’s article was “groundless” in a statement.
After Italian magistrates opened a criminal prosecution against Juventus, its former Chairman Andrea Agnelli, and 11 other people last year, they may go to trial for alleged fraudulent accounting.
The club has asserted that its accounting complies with industry norms and denies misconduct.
In May, Reuters cited five sources who had ongoing conversations with the Agnellis to claim they had changed their attitude toward suggestions for the club’s financial future.
Exor said at the time that its commitment to Juventus remained the same and that any claims to the contrary were false, deceptive, and made merely to sow discord.
The individuals also told Reuters that no immediate changes were anticipated and that any potential decisions would only be made after the accounting and legal questions looming over the club had been resolved.
In Juventus, which has a market value of around 800 million euros ($858 million), Exor holds about 64% of the shares and 78% of the voting rights.
After taking steps to address its accounting difficulties, Exor reportedly thinks it may sell Juventus for at least 1.5 billion euros.
The inquiry into Juventus’s finances also sparked further examinations by the Italian soccer authorities, which ultimately resulted in a 10-point reduction from their Serie A standings last season, a 718,000 euro fine, and a suspension from this season’s European championships, as determined by UEFA.
Over the last four years, Juventus has absorbed around 700 million euros in cash from shareholders, almost two-thirds of which came from Exor, whose portfolio the club is the only significant company that is not now producing money.