Serie A Investment Talks Reach Final Stage

16 October 2020 | Finance & Regulation
Serie A Investment Talks Reach Final Stage
Although the brand new Serie A season has only just got underway, discussions regarding investment in the competition as a whole are nearing a conclusion and after months of discussion, a favoured consortium looks set to buy its way into Italian football’s top division. With private equity funds eyeing up Serie A as fertile ground for a cash injection, several parties have previously declared an interest and with CVC making their first approach back in February, it is they that are now in the driving seat.

This approach came in the form of a €2.2 billion offer, one that would subsequently acquire 20% in a new company to manage the league’s broadcasting rights from 2021, the league’s international trademark and its commercial development.

However, with a bidding war then ensuing, that initial offer was always going to have to be revised and it now seems that CVC and their consortium partners, will have to make do with half their initially desired stake.

This means just 10% of the new company will be handed over and in return for €1.6 billion - valuing the whole of Serie A at €16 billion, five more than when based on the initial offer from the CVC consortium.

Regarding the consortium itself, it is made up of private equity firm Advent and state-backed fund FSI and CVC, while it also has been given preferential status by 75% of the teams that currently operate in this season’s edition of the competition.

Which means it is bad news for Bain Capital and their own attempts at buying a piece of Serie A for themselves. Then again, it is certainly good news for those clubs who are in desperate need for a financial stimulus.

With COVID-19 causing much distress to the Italian football fraternity, this will ease any pressure on the government to present a state bailout and instead, this incoming cash injection will be a welcome tonic to all.

Of course, one should not forget that the existing broadcasting deal expires at the end of the season and this is where the newly formed company will start to show its true worth, as the current income is much lower than their “Big Five” continental counterparts.

When compared to the English Premier League’s ability to collect €3.5 billion per annum from combined broadcasting rights, Serie A only accrues one third of this and they will look to bridge the rights gap soon.

If this proves to be the case, it will be good news for the likes of Juventus and Napoli, as it will only boost their hopes of competing both home and abroad, although as far as the latter is concerned this season’s competition has just become slightly more difficult.

After failing to turn up to the recent scheduled clash with Juventus, the belief was that the ‘Old Lady of Turin’ would eventually be handed a 3-0 walkover win – something that has just been recently confirmed by Italian sporting judges.

While to make matters worse, Napoli have also been deducted an additional point for their eventual no-show and unsurprisingly the team that finished only 7th in last season’s edition of Serie A, have not taken this decision lying down.

After the confirmation of Juventus’ 3-0 win and additional point deduction for Napoli, the club in question offered this statement:

“Napoli has always respected the rules and the law, it awaits with faith the success of the appeal, firmly believing in justice.”

Their main point of contention. is the fact that they were blocked by local health authorities from making the trip to Turin and with “force majure” unable to then be applied, they were left with no choice but to miss the game itself.

Napoli have additionally stated that they are ready to take this case to both Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and then to CONI (The Italian Olympic Committee and highest sporting authority within Italy), which suggests this walkover aga is far from being resolved.

 

Written by Dan Tracey

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