Jan 30, 2023
German Football Body Said Ready to Renew Media Rights Deal Talks
(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s professional football body is getting ready to restart talks with private equity firms about the sale of a package of media rights, people familiar with the matter said.
Deutsche Fussball Liga GmbH is likely to agree on the resumption of discussions about the sale of a stake in a new subsidiary housing broadcast rights at a regular meeting in early February, according to the people. DFL is considering including both its domestic and international rights in any deal, they said.
The body overseeing Germany’s top two Bundesliga divisions has been exploring ways to benefit from the injection of external capital and expertise for more than year. It’s weighed selling as much as 20% of a new media unit, which could be valued at about €18 billion ($19.6 billion), Bloomberg News reported last year.
Earlier efforts to do a deal hit snags despite the strong interest from private equity firms keen to gain exposure to the world’s most popular sport. Advent International, Blackstone Inc., CVC Capital Partners, EQT AB and KKR & Co. have all been considering investing in the German league, people familiar with the matter said previously.
Attempts to negotiate a deal were delayed in late 2022 by the departure of Donata Hopfen as chief executive officer of DFL. Now under the oversight of Axel Hellmann and Oliver Leki, DFL is working with Deutsche Bank AG and longstanding adviser Nomura Holdings Inc. on its options.
Deliberations by the DFL working group tasked with studying potential new investment are ongoing and no final decisions have been made on the size, structure or timing of any deal, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. A representative for DFL declined to comment.
Operators of Europe’s top football leagues are opening their doors to new investors as they seek to repair finances left battered by the Covid-19 crisis, which forced matches to be postponed and stadiums to close. A number have raised funds by selling stakes in media vehicles. Private equity funds, flush with cash and in search of recurring revenue streams, are willing buyers—CVC has already struck similar deals in Spain and France.
Germany’s Bundesliga is one of Europe’s richest leagues and home to world-renowned teams including Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Stars of the game such as Senegalese forward Sadio Mané and England’s young midfield talent Jude Bellingham ply their trade in the league.
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