MILAN, 30 July (Reuters) – Italian Serie A soccer league has postponed the decision on the project to sell minority shares from its media business, because representatives from the country’s top clubs have asked for more time to assess the proposal for private equity funds.
Looking for ways to increase revenue and overcome the coronavirus crisis, Serie A has asked investors to bid to buy up to 15% of shares in newly created media companies that will control broadcast rights.
But sources close to the matter told Reuters several Serie A clubs were reluctant to accept losing their power over this vital business.
Private equity firms CVC, Bain Capital and Advent International have submitted bids for shares in the business, while the credit arms of Apollo, Fortress and Blackstone GSO have made proposals for offering debt or hybrid financing, the source said.
Moreover, Chinese media companies Wanda Sports and Mediapro have submitted separate proposals to create a special Serie A broadcast channel that will distribute more than a number of platforms, the source added.
“We need to judge what is the best way,” Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino told reporters after meeting with top executives from 20 clubs on Thursday.
“We decided to take more time, until August 25, to assess all the opportunities we have at our table,” he said.
Serie A, which relies on broadcast rights for more than half of its income, lags behind the financial heavyweights of the English Premier League, La Liga in Spain and the German Bundesliga. (Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Mark Potter)