- Mubadala Capital chosen over two US-based private equity firms
- Abu Dhabi fund has already invested in YES Network and SailGP
The Brazilian Football League (Libra), one of two groups proposing new structures for soccer in the country, has confirmed it is in talks to sell a stake in its proposed competition to UAE investment firm Mubadala Capital.
According to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Libra is in negotiations to sell 20 per cent of its commercial rights to the ventures platform, owned by the Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Company (MIC), for 5 billion reais (US$971 million).
A further report from Sportico reveals that Mubadala was one of three investment companies that bid for the rights, with the other two being US-based private equity firms. Negotiations are said to have gone on for months and has been managed by Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual and Codajas Sports Kapital.
The league released a statement confirming discussions with Mubadala had taken place, with representatives from all 14 clubs that have signed up to Libra all voting in favour for negotiations to begin.
“After a competitive process managed by Banco BTG Pactual and Codajas Sports Kapital, an assembly of Libra (…) on November 7th approved exclusive negotiations with Mubadala Capital”, said Libra.
MIC has already made numerous investments in sports and media. Its portfolio includes the YES Network, the regional sports network (RSN) owned by Major League Baseball’s (MLB) New York Yankees, and the yacht racing series SailGP. MIC also has interests in multiple Abu-Dhabi based companies that sponsor Premier League club Manchester City.
The clubs signed up to Libra includes heavyweights such as Flamengo, Corinthians, Santos and Vasco da Gama, and wants to establish a new domestic competition pyramid for Brazil.
It aims to have at least 16 first division teams signed up to the competition once Mubadala’s investment has been confirmed. However, the process of commercialising the league will likely continue regardless of whether Libra has the support of every club in Brazil’s domestic soccer pyramid on board. The venture is opposed by 25 other Brazilian soccer teams who are pushing their own proposal for the domestic game’s structure.
Juan Arciniegas, a managing director at US investment firm 777 Partners, which has a controlling stake in second-tier club Vasco, told Sportico of the benefits of Mubadala’s involvement.
Arciniegas, who sits on Libra’s finance committee, said: “Centralising the product in a cohesive way, with proper governance and a best-in-class management team, will create alignment across a diverse group of clubs, which will over time ensure value maximization across all of their commercial properties.
“As a result, we expect broadcasting and commercial revenues to materially increase in the next cycle and beyond, lifting the competitiveness of the league and its member clubs.”