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Serie A to continue weighing up private equity offers

(Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Italian football’s Lega Serie A has decided to continue to examine proposals from private equity investors following a general assembly meeting.

Reuters reported that the French financial consultancy Lazard has been appointed by the league to help weigh the bids.

The proposals were discussed at Tuesday’s meeting with none of the offers selected as the league opted to carry on weighing up the options.

One source told Reuters: “The clubs mandated Serie A’s president (Paolo) dal Pino to continue exploring the feasibility of a deal, in a bid to get more definite proposals by end-July.”

Private equity firms CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and Bain Capital are all said to be in the mix as Lega Serie A looks to boost its future media rights income amid the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.

London-based private equity firm Cinven has also expressed its interest in an investment but there is no certainty that it will submit a proposal, according to Bloomberg.

CVC enjoyed an exclusive negotiation window but this is now thought to have expired.

CVC’s reported €2.2bn ($2.48bn) bid was to acquire 20 per cent of a new company that would manage the media rights, Serie A’s international trademark and commercial development, and part-finance a new investment fund responsible for stadium development.

Bain Capital was last month said to have made “a tentative offer” to buy a 25-per-cent stake in Serie A for €3bn.

Leading Italian financial journalist and football analyst Marco Bellinazzo told SportBusiness this week that cash-strapped Serie-A clubs could find it difficult to agree a deal with a private equity investor because of internal politics and deep-seated rivalries.

Domestic live rights to Serie A games are held by Sky and DAZN in deals worth €973m per season, while the IMG agency holds the international rights in a deal is worth just over €380m per season for international broadcast rights, club archive rights, betting rights, a marketing spend and fee for access to the broadcast signal.