Exane-BNP/Paribas suggests Qatar’s sovereign fund is looking to reduce exposure and that Vivendi could be a potential buyer/partner of its sports rights and marketing operation beIN Sports.
The bank’s rationale is that Qatar’s fund, which last week decided to curb its US news losses by shutting down its Al Jazeera America unit, might be looking to save further cash by selling off beIN Sports. beIN Sports is a 100 percent subsidiary of Al Jazeera Group.
The bank’s commentary says that “a disposal of [beIN Sport’s] unprofitable French TV unit would allow [Qatar] to alleviate its intensifying financial stress”.
A deal from Vivendi would “enable Canal Plus to reverse the current negative commercial momentum and to replenish its thinner-and thinner sport rights portfolio.” Canal Plus Group and beIN have “already launched operational and promotional co-operations”.
Qatar has suffered badly these past few months (since June 30th last year) with estimated investment losses put at a staggering €13.3 billion, not helped by the mess at Volkswagen (€6.8bn), Shell B (€679m), Barclays (€1.03bn) and Credit Suisse (€751m).
beIN Sports has reportedly suffered “over €200 million annual loses since its 2012 launch, and has yearly programming obligations exceeding €400 million.”