SPORTS

Euroleague champion seeks foreign buyer

The Giannakopoulos family is determined to sell its controlling stake in Panathinaikos basketball club to foreign investors, as it is unlikely in the current economic climate that it will find a Greek investor, Dimitris Giannakopoulos said in a radio interview on June 17.

He also suggested that in the case of an NBA expansion to Europe, Panathinaikos, the reigning Euroleague champion, bears the biggest brand name on the continent, which would certainly attract American investors.

In his first radio interview ever, Dimitris, the son of owner Pavlos Giannakopoulos, told Sentra FM that his family is not changing its mind on selling the club and that he is too busy with his professional commitments to run it.

“Since last summer, the family has taken a unanimous decision to pull out of the club. Our love [for it] never stops, but we must find someone who will continue to run the Panathinaikos empire,» he said.

“Throughout last season and in secrecy I exhausted all possibilities of finding a Greek buyer for the club. Unfortunately we could not find anyone who would commit himself.?

Asked about reported contacts with GSP, a deal-brokering firm in New York run by Salvatore Galatioto, Giannakopoulos said: «I have spoken with him on the phone. He has taken it upon himself to find a buyer but told me this would be hard. Panathinaikos’s brand name is the biggest in Europe. An American investor will only emerge if the NBA expands to Europe. I have contacted certain investment firms, but I would not like to talk about that,» he stated.

“But I am certain a buyer will be found, who will maintain the club at a high level. I cannot believe we will not find anyone,» he added.

Pavlos Giannakopoulos and his brother Thanasis have stated that the time has come for them to sell the club after serving it for four decades, citing age reasons.