Serie A Revives Talks With Funds for $2 Billion Deal

Serie A, Italy’s top soccer league, is reviving preliminary talks to sell a 1.7 billion-euro ($2 billion) stake to an investor group after failing to act on the deal earlier this year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Serie A board will gather Friday and is expected to informally restart talks that could let Advent International, Italy’s FSI fund and CVC Capital Partners buy a 10% stake in a new media arm of the league, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

The talks also involve a credit line of about 1.2 billion euros, the people said. Representatives for Serie A, FSI, Advent and CVC declined to comment.

CVC made progress on Thursday in completing its first soccer investment when La Liga clubs, excluding Barcelona, Real Madrid and two others, voted for a similar 2.1 billion-euro deal in Spain. The accord comes at a key moment for a Spanish league hobbled, like others in Europe, by the impact of pandemic lockdowns.

Read more: Real Madrid to take legal action on LaLiga Deal

Some of Serie A’s 20 clubs earlier this year raised concerns about the terms of the Italian deal, especially legal issues, after their initial approval last November, people said at that time. The talks fell part in February.

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

Serie A wants to develop a more modern media strategy for revenue generation, the league’s boss, Paolo Dal Pino, told Bloomberg News earlier. Dal Pino, a digital entrepreneur and veteran executive of several Italian companies including Telecom Italia SpA and Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA, worked on the earlier accord with the private equity firms before it fell apart.

On Friday, Serie A’s board will also discuss a possible accord with YouTube to live stream some matches in the Middle East and North Africa, a person familiar with the matter said. Reuters reported the news earlier Thursday.

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