Three Hills, Apax Ask Italy’s Serie A for Extra Time to Make Bid

Three Hills Capital Partners and Apax Partners have asked Italy’s Serie A for more time to finesse their late bid to provide fresh capital to the soccer league, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The private equity firms submitted a document to the league in late August in which they asked for up to four weeks to work on a long-term plan for investing in Serie A, the person said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

The request raises the prospect of a delay to a decision on the future ownership of Serie A at a crunch meeting next week. Serie A’s 20 clubs will gather on Sept. 9 to discuss various private equity proposals to inject money into the league, which has suffered from under-investment and, more recently, the impact of Covid-19 on spectator sports.

Buyout firms CVC Capital Partners and Advent International are joining forces to bid for an equity stake in a new company that will hold the media rights for Serie A, Bloomberg News has reported. Rival Bain Capital has made a similar bid.

Three Hills and Apax are putting together an alternative financing package and want more time to conduct due diligence and flesh out their business plan for the management of Serie A, the person said. Il Sole 24 Ore reported in August that U.S.-based Fortress Investment Group could join the Three Hills, Apax bid.

Representatives for Apax, Three Hills and Serie A declined to comment.

While Serie A is home to some of soccer’s biggest stars, including Juventus Football Club SpA attacker Cristiano Ronaldo, the league trails those in England, Spain and Germany for broadcast revenue, according to a June report from Deloitte. Serie A generated revenue of about 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2018-2019, with almost 60% coming from broadcasting.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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