Now Bundesliga comes under microscope of private equity firms
Private equity firms are circling German soccer's Bundesliga, following a successful partnership in Italy to create a media company with Serie A, according to reports.
Advent International and BC Partners are among those said to have approached the DFL, the German league, about potentially acquiring a minority stake in Bundesliga International, the worldwide commercial sales arm, Bloomberg reported.
Bundesliga International has not commented on the matter.
The DFL will discuss at a 7 December meeting whether to pursue a sale process.
The 20 Serie A clubs last week voted unanimously for the establishment of a media company in partnership with a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners.CVC will hold 50 per cent of the consortium's stake, Advent 40 per cent and Italian state-backed fund FSI 10 per cent. In total the consortium will hold 10 per cent of the media company for €1.7 billion ($2 billion).
CVC et al were selected ahead of US private equity firm Bain Capital, while the likes of General Atlantic, KKR & Co, Fortress and Apollo were all linked early on in the process.
Those same firms have now turned their attention to German soccer, where the value of the international media rights has dropped around 20 per cent from the €250 million generated in 2019-20 because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Bundesliga International chief executive Robert Klein told Sportcal in late September that the business is well placed for growth, noting: “Our European rights cycle has started very strongly. Aligned to our commercial partners’ businesses [Amazon Web Services and Mondelez International came on board this year], the Bundesliga International revenues will be growing again as of next season already.”
Earlier this year, the Bundesliga’s domestic media rights auction for 2021-22 to 2024-25 raised €4.4 billion in total, a drop of €200 million on the present deal that runs to the end of the current season, as the impact of Covid-19 precluded what was expected to be a healthy increase.