Eredivisie increases stake in rights sales business EMM

January 6 – The top flight of Dutch football, the Eredivisie, has increased its ownership stake in the company that sells its commercial rights, Eredivisie Media & Marketing (EMM).

The Eredivisie has bought the 8.82% held by Dutch media giant EndemolShine, taking its stake in EMM from 35.28% to 44.1%.

“The planned takeover is in line with the future plans towards a professional league organisation and the further value development of Dutch football,” said a statement on the league’s website.

The share acquisition by the Eredivisie in their rights holding joint venture company comes at a time when a number of other leading European leagues are looking to create similar ventures as they sell off a share of their rights to private equity finance.

Italy’s Serie A has agreed a deal in November to sell a 10% stake in a newly created media and commercial rights holding company to private equity firms CVC and Advent. They will pay a reported €1.7 billion for their position, delivering a much needed cash injection for the debt-laden clubs. Germany’s Bundesliga has similarly opened venture capital conversations.

The majority shareholder in EMM is the Walt Disney Company (51%) while the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) holds 4.9%.

Disney acquired its controlling stake in EMM in 2012 and pays the clubs €80 million annually until 2025 in return for exclusive live broadcast rights. The Eredivisie content has been a plank of Disney’s relaunch of Fox Sports channels under the ESPN brand.

No value was given for the Eredivisie share acquisition which marks a continued move by the Dutch league to regain more control of the sales of their commercial rights.

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