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Webinar replay | The opportunities for private equity in European football

Private equity houses have been examining a host of league investment opportunities across European football with Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga all reported to be examining the idea of selling stakes in various entities to outside investors.

In this recording of a live webinar hosted on Thursday, February 18, our panel of football and investment experts discuss the trend and examine the benefits and risks for football organisations.

Ben Cronin, Europe editor of SportBusiness Professional was joined by Keith Harris chairman of Keith Harris & Partners, Doug Harmer, partner at Oakwell Sports Advisory, George Pyne, founder of Bruin Sports Capital, and Ioris Francini, a chairman and senior advisor, all of whom have a wealth of experience in this domain having advised and originated a number of private equity deals in sport.

Harris has held senior roles and board positions at The Football League, Wembley Stadium and Everton FC as well as Morgan Grenfell, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Apax Partners and HSBC Investment Bank. Over the last two decades he has been one of the prominent advisors on club takeovers having guided over 30 transactions across European football.

Harmer is the football expert at Oakwell Sports Advisory, which provides acquisition and sale advice to investors and sports rights-holders. He has worked on various corporate finance mandates, financial restructurings and fund raisings covering football, esports and sports marketing while Oakwell originated and worked as global advisor to CVC Capital Partners on all of their rugby investments.

Pyne is the founder of Bruin Sports Capital, a privately held company that invests in, acquires, and builds leading-edge, global sports and entertainment companies. Bruin draws on Pyne’s extensive experience in the sports industry, which includes stints at IMG and Nascar. Having recently closed a large-scale strategic partnership with CVC Capital Partners and The Jordan Company worth at least $600m, Pyne can speak about the way sports organisations can use PE investment to meet the challenges of an evolving market.

Francini has enjoyed a stellar career in the sports industry having served in a number of senior roles, and most recently as co-president of WME | IMG, president of IMG Media and then chairman of IMG Media. He has extensive knowledge of the football rights market having been involved in deals by the agency to acquire the global media rights to Serie A from 2018-19 to 2020-21 and a four-year deal to market the commercial rights of South American football federation Conmebol from 2019-2022, to name only a few. He now acts as a specialist commercial advisor to clients operating in the media and entertainment industry, including rights holders, financial firms and media groups.

If you would like to know more about the competitive dynamics in the Serie A media rights market, SportBusiness has published a detailed report examining every one of the league’s rights cycles from 2010 onwards. The report also includes a detailed breakdown of the 2018-21 cycle by domestic and 16 international territories. To find out how to purchase a copy, click here.

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