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Report: Serie A valued at €13bn in latest investment offer

Advent joins Bain Capital and CVC in hunt for top-flight Italian soccer stake.

23 June 2020 Sam Carp

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  • Serie A receives offer from third private equity firm
  • Bain and CVC seeking stake in league’s media rights business
  • Blackstone previously linked with €100m loan offer

Advent International is the latest private equity firm to bid for a stake in Serie A, according to Bloomberg.

The business outlet reports that the Boston-headquartered company’s offer could value Italian soccer’s top flight at €13 billion (US$14.6 billion).

News of Advent’s bid comes after Bain Capital tabled a reported €3 billion (US$3.4 billion) preliminary offer for a 25 per cent stake in Serie A, which returned to action in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic on 20th June.

Bain’s offer exceeded that made by Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners, which has reportedly been in exclusive talks with Serie A over a €2.2 billion (US$2.4 billion) deal to acquire 20 per cent of the league.

Blackstone, another US group, has also been linked with providing a €100 million (US$112 million) short-term loan to Serie A to help its clubs mitigate the financial impact of the health crisis.

Bain and CVC are particularly keen to take a minority stake in Serie A’s media rights business, Bloomberg added. That venture currently earns the league €1.3 billion (US$1.5 billion) annually.

All three bids have been made since the onset of the pandemic, which Gabriele Gravina, president of national soccer body the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), said in late May had already cost Serie A €500 million (US$526 million).

The latest investment offer comes against the backdrop of a major fallout between Serie A and its Qatar-based broadcast partner BeIN Sports, which did not show the competition’s first game back in protest against the league’s inaction over Saudi Arabia’s piracy of live sports content.

BeIN, whose Serie A broadcast deals across 35 territories are worth some US$500 million in total, previously warned the league that it was putting their relationship at risk by agreeing to stage its Super Cup fixture in Saudi Arabia despite the kingdom’s links to pirate operation BeoutQ.

A BeIN statement read: ‘No Serie A matches are being broadcast on BeIN Sports’ entire global network. It would not be appropriate to comment further, other than to say our legal and public position has been consistent and well-documented for three years.’

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