Serie A ‘sets September 30 deadline’ for private equity bids

Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top tier of Italian club football, has set a deadline of September 30 for private equity bids to be submitted for a stake in its new media-rights business, it is reported.

Clubs in Serie A earlier this month unanimously approved the formation of the new entity, which is designed to market the broadcast rights to the league. It is hoped the new venture will boost the value of Serie A’s international media rights.

Firms interested in buying a stake in the business have been given until the end of the month to place their final offers, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

It is also thought that Serie A officials will meet as early as October 6 to discuss the offers and select their preferred bidder.

Earlier this week, it was reported by Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that Spanish media giant Mediapro was in “advanced negotiations” with private equity firms Bain Capital and NB Renaissance Partners to join their bid for a stake in the new venture.

The bid from Bain Capital and NB Renaissance Partners is reported to be worth €1.35bn ($1.57bn).

A rival proposal from a consortium consisting of CVC Capital Partners, Advent and Italy’s state-backed investor Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI) is valued at a reported €1.63bn. The two consortia are seeking a 10-per-cent stake in the new venture.

A third proposal involving US investment firm Fortress, Apax and Three Hills Capital Partners that consisted of equity and debt, with little governance control, was previously said to be on the table before clubs elected to focus on the two media newco bids.

Mediapro’s involvement in Bain’s bid would appear to be a significant boost to the proposal given the company’s experience in the sports media-rights sector. Mediapro last year bid to create a Serie A channel in a joint venture project with the league and the company recently appointed Federico de Mojana from Eleven Sports to head up development at its Italian arm.