CVC expected to be last remaining bidder in Bundesliga rights sale, sources say

FRANKFURT/MUNICH : CVC Capital Partners is likely to be the last remaining candidate in German football’s planned media rights partnership, with U.S. financial investor Blackstone considering dropping out, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One main reason for the withdrawal is the threat by some club officials to prolong the process further, one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Blackstone and CVC declined to comment.

The final contenders had been vying for a stake of up to 8 per cent in a German football league (DFL) subsidiary that holds the Bundesliga media rights. DFL did not immediately return requests for comment.

CVC and Blackstone recently offered around 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) for the rights stake, the sources said, in a bidding process in which Swedish private equity firm EQT was also previously involved.

However, there were concerns among the clubs about CVC’s potential conflict of interest, given it already has similar investments in football in France and Spain, according to press reports.

These investments could also be seen as beneficial, as a way of drawing synergies, one of the sources said.

A decision should be made by the end of March, but football fans are now making their voice heard on the matter, having repeatedly disrupted Bundesliga games in recent weeks with protests against the entry of a financial investor. Claus Vogt, president of VfB Stuttgart, has called for a new vote among the 36 German first and second division clubs after doubts arose about the outcome of the first vote.

With 24 ‘yes’ votes, the DFL just achieved the required two-thirds majority. “It’s a messy situation,” one of the sources said.

Bloomberg was the first to report on Blackstone’s turnaround on Tuesday.

($1 = 0.9333 euros)

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