Mediapro ‘set to join Bain-led bid’ for stake in new Serie A media arm

Spanish media giant Mediapro is in “advanced negotiations” with private equity firms Bain Capital and NB Renaissance Partners to join their bid for a stake in Serie A’s new media-rights business, according to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

The Lega Serie A clubs earlier this month unanimously approved the formation of the new entity designed to market the broadcast rights to the top division of football in Italy, specifically with an eye on boosting the value of its international media rights.

Two proposals for a 10-per-cent stake in that new business remain on the table. One is from a consortium consisting of CVC Capital Partners, Advent and Italy’s state-backed investor Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI), valued at around €1.63bn ($1.92bn).

The second is reported to be a €1.35bn offer from Bain Capital and NB Renaissance Partners, with Mediapro’s involvement now close to being finalised. It is reported that Jaume Roures, chief executive of Mediapro and Tatxo Benet, the company’s president, also met with CVC to discuss its bid, but is now close to an agreement with the Bain-led consortium. The discussions are said to be at an advanced stage.

Mediapro last year bid to create a Serie A channel in a joint venture project with the league.

Mediapro recently appointed Federico de Mojana from Eleven Sports, the Aser Ventures-owned subscription broadcaster, as head of development at its Italian arm. De Mojana will be responsible for “promoting the group’s consolidation, growth, and expansion in the Italian market”.

Any Mediapro involvement would appear to be a significant boost to Bain’s bid, offering it significant experience in the sports media-rights area.

The two consortia are presenting their business plans to the Serie A presidents today, with a final decision on which investment will be accepted expected in earlier October.

Earlier this month, it was reported that US investment firm Fortress had joined with Apax and Three Hills Capital Partners for a proposal consisting of equity and debt, with little governance control.

CVC was previously said to have enjoyed an exclusive negotiation window. It’s reported €2.2bn 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. After that bid was rejected, Lega Serie A was reported to have placed a cap of 15 per cent on any potential private equity investment into a new commercial entity.