Serie A Soccer Is Said to Hit Snag in $2 Billion Sale of Stake

Serie A, Italy’s top soccer league, hit a snag Thursday in efforts to sell a $2 billion stake to an investor group after its board failed to act on the deal, according to people familiar with the matter, raising concerns the agreement may collapse.

Serie A’s board adjourned without taking final action on an agreement letting CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and Italy’s FSI fund buy a 10% stake valued at 1.7 billion euros ($2.03 billion) in a new company that will manage the league’s TV rights, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Some of Serie A’s 20 clubs raised concerns about the terms of the deal, especially legal ones, after their initial approval last November, the people added. Another meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 11, according to a league statement. A spokesman for Serie A declined to comment on specifics of the meeting Thursday, as did officials with Advent, CVC and FSI.

Serie A, home to players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, needs a cash injection after decades of underinvestment. The league and its teams have seen their finances further hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has diminished broadcast revenue and reduced game-day sales.

The Italian league has been trying to narrow the revenue gap with England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga. It generated sales of about 2.5 billion euros in the 2018-2019 season, with almost 60% coming from broadcasting, according to a June report from Deloitte.

Serie A Chairman Paolo Dal Pino will meet again Friday with broadcasters to seek better bids for next three seasons of domestic TV rights, after the league missed a target of 1.15 billion euros for each season, the people added.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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