US Entrepreneur Barton Still Interested In Bari

Texas-based entrepreneur Tim Barton is still interested in buying Bari once the Serie A season is finished.

Barton signed a preliminary agreement in August to purchase Bari from the Matarrese family that has controlled the club for 32 years. The bid fell apart Thursday when the Matarreses rejected a delay in the takeover process.

"Due to time limitations for completing the due diligence, we were not able to continue negotiations for the purchase of A.S. Bari," Barton said in a statement Friday.

"We respect the Matarrese family's desire to be focused on the team and do not want to cause any confusion or distractions. However, I am hopeful we can revisit negotiations when the season is over. Bari remains in my heart and I ask the fans to continue their support of the team."

Barton was bidding to become the first American to own a topflight Italian club. His JMJ Holding company specializes in buying and managing luxury properties globally. He became interested in Bari while working on the development of green energy opportunities in southern Italy.

Under a preliminary agreement signed in August, Barton was due to hand over $1.46 million by the end of September, then pay the remaining $35.1 million of the deal by the end of October.

In a note that Bari CEO Salvatore Matarrese said he received Wednesday, Barton sought a 60-day delay to complete due diligence. When the initial payment didn't come in, the Matarrese family called the deal off, saying prolonging the negotiations could affect the team's performance.

Back in the top flight for the first time in eight years, Bari has a respectable seven points through six rounds. The club opened with a draw at four-time defending champion Inter Milan and held AC Milan to a 0-0 draw last weekend.