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Women’s Super League subject of CVC’s latest sports investment interest

Maren Mjelde of Chelsea celebrating her team's goal during the WSL match against West Ham United (by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has expressed an interest in investing in the Women’s Super League (WSL) club competition, it has been reported.

Following on from interest expressed by rival Bridgepoint, a major shareholder in MotoGP commercial rights-holder Dorna Sports, CVC has now approached the English Football Association (FA), according to Sky News, citing “City sources”.

Sources close to the FA warned that the prospect of a deal being agreed to sell a WSL is “far from certain”. The league’s 12 member clubs are said to be aware of the CVC interest.

CVC is in the running to secure a stake in a commercial vehicle at football’s Serie A and is also looking to finalise its investment deal with the Six Nations rugby union tournament. It was claimed last week that CVC and fellow private equity firm Advent International have come together to offer €1.3bn ($1.53bn) for a 10-per-cent share in a new company that would manage Serie A’s media rights, international trademark and commercial development.

In 2018, CVC acquired 27 per cent of English club league Premiership Rugby, paying £200m (€224m/$264m). Earlier this year, it completed its acquisition of a 28-per-cent stake in the Pro14 cross-border rugby union competition.

Bridgepoint is said to have made contact with the FA earlier this year with an offer to acquire a large minority stake in a new company that would own the WSL’s commercial rights.

Bridgepoint’s interest came after it was reported that the majority of clubs in the WSL were against a potential takeover by the Premier League, preferring that they operate independently from the men’s competition.

The WSL was buoyed this week with the news of a US broadcast deal with NBC Sports, along with deals in Germany and Italy with OTT operator DAZN.

The UK media rights for the WSL from the 2021-22 season are currently on the market with the FA having appointed Women’s Sports Group as its exclusive consultant on the sale. Pay-television broadcaster BT Sport is the main domestic rights-holder to the league in a three-season deal running from 2018-19 to 2020-21.