Serie A suitors given until Monday to formalise bids
The private equity firms and investment banks circling Serie A have been given an extra few days to formulate their offers to Italian soccer's top flight, the league announced today.
A number of entities have approached the league in recent months with an eye on media rights, and some had requested a short extension to the 24 July deadline for binding offers.
Serie A and its advisor Lazard have now given them the weekend to finalise their bids, and present them on 27 July.
The league is set to meet on 30 July when the offers could be discussed.
It is understood there are now seven bids on the table, from: CVC Capital Partners; Bain Capital; China's Wanda Sports, which owns the Infront agency; Advent, the US private equity group in partnership with Italy's FSI; General Atlantic; TPG Capital; and Apollo Global Management.
The proposals essentially fall into two categories, with some firms wanting to acquire a minority stake in a new Serie A media company and the others seeking to play the role of financier.
Serie A has reportedly placed a limit of 15 per cent on how much of a planned new commercial and TV rights-based company any private equity firm can acquire.
That would be a particular blow to CVC, which had entered into exclusive negotiations with the league in May over an offer to acquire 20 per cent of any new company established, in a deal worth some €2.2 billion ($2.55 billion). That negotiating period has, however, now ended.
Wanda subsidiary Infront Italy is already contracted to Serie A, with its six-year, €5.94 billion minimum guarantee agreement to act as the league's exclusive adviser on both domestic and international media rights expiring next year.
At present, domestic rights to Serie A are held by pay-television operator Sky Italia and over-the-top subscription service DAZN in three-year deals worth €973 million running to the end of the 2020-21 campaign. The IMG agency handles the international media and other commercial rights in an agreement worth more than €360 million per year.