(Bloomberg) -- The decision by embattled Chinese conglomerate Suning Appliance Group Co. to shut down a soccer club in its hometown of Jiangsu is raising concerns that the next to get entangled in the indebted company’s efforts to raise cash could be its prize asset in Italy, FC Internazionale Milano SpA.In a bid to ease debt payment pressure, the appliance retailer said Sunday that state-owned Shenzhen International Holdings Ltd. and Shenzhen Kunpeng Equity Investment Management Co. planned to purchase 8% and 15% of Suning.com.’s shares, respectively, paying a total of 14.8 billion yuan ($2.3 billion). Jiangsu Football Club, owned by Suning since 2015, said over the weekend that it would cease operations, without elaborating. Suning.com Co., the key listed unit, jumped by the daily limit of 10% after shares resumed trading Monday in Shenzhen.The halt of the Chinese soccer club’s operations adds to uncertainty over the future of Inter Milan. Suning acquired 70% of Inter Milan in 2016 for 270 million euros ($306 million at the time). The company has since expanded its soccer empire, including a $650 million deal by digital broadcaster PPTV -- a unit of Suning Holdings Co. -- for a three-year television contract with England’s Premier League.“Chinese conglomerates were growing through acquisitions due to cheap funding. Now that the good old time is over, it makes sense to refocus on core businesses,” said Warut Promboon, managing partner at credit research firm Bondcritic Ltd. “The key is not about being leaner but being more focused on what they can do best. And for Suning, it is about the retail business, not football clubs, in our view.”Suning said Sunday that the introduction of state-owned investors will help the company further focus on its retail business. Analysts expect the company to divest more non-retail assets as it re-focuses, which could include selling off its 70% stake of Inter Milan. The company on Monday declined to comment further on the stake sale.Cash CrunchConcerns about the retail giant’s financial health have been growing since last year, when online talk of a cash crunch pressured bonds issued by Suning.com, the key listed unit -- chatter Suning Appliance at the time dismissed as “rumor.” The pressure on Suning comes at a time when other Chinese conglomerates are in full retreat as Beijing moves to rein in financial risk.It’s also another blow to China’s billionaires, which includes Suning’s founder Zhang Jindong, as officials move to more closely regulate their flamboyant overseas purchases that have included cinema chains, historic buildings and sports clubs.What Is Behind China’s Crackdown on Its Tech Giants: QuickTakeBoth Suning.com and its parent face high near-term repayment pressure, according to China Chengxin International Rating Co. A combined 15.8 billion yuan of bonds will be payable this year for the two firms when they are confronting refinancing difficulties, Chengxin said in a report earlier this month.In a recent sign of liquidity strain, Suning Appliance conducted a swap offer for a yuan bond due Feb. 2. A majority of the holders agreed to exchange the 7.3% note for a new two-year bond carrying the same coupon. In January, Suning Appliance said it pledged 376.5 million shares, or a 4.04% stake, in Suning.com to China Minsheng Banking Corp. to raise funds.Helping EvergrandeSuning Appliance’s debt risk has also come under further focus after it helped China Evergrande Group avoid a cash crunch by deciding not to demand repayment of a 20 billion yuan strategic investment in the indebted developer. Suning is an Evergrande supplier, and a collapse could have had ripple effects on its business.“The non state-owned conglomerates are set to focus more on their main businesses amid the challenging business environment and improve their profitability and efficiency in order to better compete with global rivals,” said Bruce Pang, head of macro research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.