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Private equity funds eye Italy’s Serie A

May 6, 2020

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Private equity funds CVC Capital Partners and Blackstone are eyeing Italy’s top football league with increased interest. Its current TV rights deal expires in 2021.

CVC is reportedly ready to make a substantial offer for the 10-year rights to the matches of the 20 Serie A football teams, according to daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

The idea is to set up a new company which would then negotiate with broadcasters for the resale of the rights.

For its part, Corriere della Sera reported that CVC would invest €2 billion in order to take a 20 per cent stake in the new company, which may also set up a dedicated channel for the Italian Football League within the next three years.

An obstacle could be the existing Italian legislation, which foresees that all TV rights cannot be owned by one subject, although some claim that this applies only to broadcasters.

Meanwhile, US fund Blackstone has started talks with the Italian Football League for a short-term injection of liquidity of about €100 million, according to Il Sole 24 Ore. This funding would be used to support the Italian football clubs in this difficult moment, when some of the payments for TV rights may not be forthcoming from broadcasters.

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