Italy's Serie A postpones media unit stake sale decision by a week

Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina
·2-min read

By Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Serie A has postponed a final decision regarding the sale of a stake in its media business to a private equity consortium by a week, the president of the top soccer league Paolo Dal Pino said on Thursday.

In October Serie A agreed to enter exclusive talks with a consortium including CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and Italian fund FSI, which offered 1.7 billion euros ($2 billion) for a 10% stake of a newly-created unit managing the Italian soccer league's media business.

Negotiations have being going on for months but some of the 20 clubs still have reservations.

The Serie A assembly on Thursday was due to approve the final term-sheet of the agreement.

"There are two points on which no agreement has yet been reached ... we are going to negotiate them," Dal Pino told reporters.

He did not give details about the issues and he added that it was normal to have some disagreement.

Dal Pino said that after the term-sheet approval, the final sign off would be expected in about four weeks.

Talks between the CVC-Advent-FSI consortium and Serie A are the latest sign of private equity interest in the sports industry, a welcome boon at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is wrecking clubs' finances.

Elsewhere, private equity firms are lining up to buy into German soccer league's media business, while U.S. buyout firm Silverlake is in talks to buy the commercial activities of New Zealand Rugby, home of the world-renowned All Blacks team.

Like other sports organisations across the globe, Serie A has seen revenue drop due to the pandemic, with matches being played in empty stadiums, sponsorship firms renegotiating deals and broadcasters seeking rebates.

($1 = 0.8354 euros)

(Reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina, editing by David Evans)