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Reports: Serie A’s private equity suitors talking to Amazon and Mediapro about rights contracts

Bain and NB want Spanish agency to produce in-house channel with CVC eyeing Prime deal.

25 September 2020 Tom Bassam

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  • Final bids on new media company are due with Serie A on 30th September
  • Both investment groups seeking 10% stake in the new business for the next decade

The private equity groups seeking to invest in Serie A are positioning their media distribution options ahead of the top-flight Italian soccer league’s decision on which backer to go with.

According to reports in Italy, the contenders are a joint offer from US firm Bain alongside Italian financiers NB Renaissance, and a consortium led by CVC Capital that also features Advent, as well as the Italian state-backed FSI.

Each is after a ten per cent stake in a new company, approved by Serie A clubs earlier in September, that will manage the league’s broadcasting rights for the next decade.

The final bids for a stake in the new company are due 30th September with Serie A’s general assembly meeting 6th October where it may select a winning party.

The CVC-backed offer, worth €1.62 billion (US$1.89 billion), is seeking to line up a Serie A rights deal with technology giant Amazon’s Prime streaming service, according to Milano Finanza. The Italian business outlet’s report suggests that CVC wants new entrants to bid against the league’s existing broadcast partners, pay-TV network Sky and digital sports media subscription service DAZN, while it is also purportedly in discussions with Italian communications giant Tim.

CVC, according to the report, is also talking to IMG, the agency which markets Serie A’s overseas rights as part of a deal expiring at the end of the 2020/21 season worth €360 million (SU$418 million) a year.

The rival €1.35 billion (US$1.58 billion) bid from Bain and NB purportedly involves Spanish agency Mediapro. The Spanish media rights and production agency came close to securing a deal for an in-house Serie A network earlier this year, eventually seeing its €1.28 billion (US$1.48 billion) a year agreement for rights for the 2021/22 to 2023/24 cycle fall away as the league’s clubs continually postponed votes on whether to accept. Now, according to reports in Italy, it would provide production on a new channel as part of the Bain-NB deal.

Marco Bogarelli, former president of Serie A’s media rights advisors Infront, has been acting as a consultant for Mediapro Italy, while experienced broadcast executive Federico de Mojana also recently joined the agency as its national head of development.

Bain and NB want Mediapro to produce in-house Serie A channel with CVC eyeing Prime rights deal.

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