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Report: Barcelona near €900m Goldman Sachs deal to lower debt

Goldman Sachs and All Sports Finance set to get 30% of club’s broadcast revenue.

26 May 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Agreement would also see Barca hand over portion of future stadium revenues
  • Latest proposal reportedly means LaLiga club will have to pay back US$1.5bn in 35 years

Spanish soccer giants Barcelona are close to finalising a €900 million (US$961 million) agreement with financial services company Goldman Sachs to lower the club’s debt, according to El Confidencial.

The deal with Goldman Sachs and capital solutions provider All Sports Finance (ASF) will reportedly see the pair receive 30 per cent of Barca’s broadcast revenues. The two will also get a chunk of the LaLiga outfit’s future revenues from their new stadium complex, Espai Barca, construction on which could start as early as this summer.

Barca had initially appointed Goldman Sachs in 2018 to advise them on the redevelopment of their iconic Camp Nou home, with the project now set to cost in the region of €1.5 billion (US$1.6 billion). Pre-pandemic, the club also signed an initial €80 million (US$85.5 million) bridge loan with Goldman Sachs, which was later extended and must now be paid back by 2023. In June 2021, Barca approved a €525 million (US$561 million) debt refinance proposal.

According to Sportico, if the latest proposal with Goldman Sachs goes through, Barca will have to pay back a total of US$1.5 billion in 35 years. This includes a five-year grace period to pay and interest fixed at three per cent to four per cent. The loan would also be the largest funding agreement in the club’s history.

Having seen their debt already spiral to €1.35 billion (US$1.44 billion) last year, ESPN reported in April 2021 that Barca were seeking several new means to finance the club and had held talks with investment funds from Asia, Europe and the US over a loan.

The reported deal with New York-headquartered Goldman Sachs comes after LaLiga, the top-flight of Spanish soccer, confirmed a €2 billion (US$2.1 billion) investment from CVC Capital Partners in December 2021. That arrangement handed the private equity firm an 8.25 per cent stake in the league’s media rights for the next 50 years.

Barca, along with Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, opted out of the deal, meaning the trio will not receive any cash from CVC, though they will retain their full allocation of central media rights income.

Sportico notes that Barca’s reported deal with Goldman Sachs would not make it impossible to join the CVC deal. If the club opted to be part of the pact, their broadcast rights would reportedly be included in the current deal and Barca would be eligible to receive US$270 million from the project.

2Playbook had also reported earlier this month that Barca were set to receive an additional €200 million (US$214 million) boost to their finances by selling off 49 per cent of their licensing and merchandising arm to Fanatics.

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