Bundesliga clubs turn down private equity cash to go it alone, ‘for now’

May 19 – Bundesliga clubs have turned down interest from private equity investors expressing an interest in investing in a minority stake in the newly created entities that will sell the league’s international rights.

Clubs voted against progressing discussions at an extraordinary session of the Members Assembly of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga today (Wednesday).

The investment being considered was for a €500 million acquisition of a 25.1% stake in DFL GmbH.

A prospectus, issued via Nomura, had been sent to about 30 private equity firms with the DFL offering investment opportunity in two new subsidiaries – a ‘MediaCo’ division to sell Bundesliga’s media rights internationally, and a ‘DigitalCo’ to market the DFL’s esports competitions.

Part of that new business would be the creation of an OTT streaming platform.

Reuters reported that the KKR, Bridgepoint and CVC private equity firms have all progressed to the second round of an auction that could value the Bundesliga’s overseas broadcast rights at €2 billion.

In a statement the DFL said: “In order to carefully assess the opportunities and risks of an investment in the interests of the 36 professional clubs, the DFL spent the last few months examining specific offers from private equity firms and presented them to the Extraordinary Members Assembly today. Having weighed up the facts, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs decided not to continue the talks at the present time.”

While the investment, at this time has been shelved, the plans for the development of the international rights sales business are progressing with the DFL saying: “Independent of this, there was agreement that it is essential that clubs and DFL work together on concepts for accelerating international marketing.”

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