July 28, 2020 / 1:34 PM / 16 days ago

Funds vie to invest in Italy's Serie A media rights, says source

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Sampdoria - Turin, Italy - July 26, 2020 Juventus fans celebrate winning Serie A in Turin after the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Serie A soccer league has received six bids from international funds interested in investing in broadcasting rights for top flight Italian matches, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Looking for ways to lift flagging revenues and weather the coronavirus crisis, Serie A has asked investors to submit bids by Monday to buy a stake of up to 15% in a newly created media company that would control its broadcast rights.

Representatives from the 20 Serie A clubs will meet on Thursday to discuss various proposals.

Private equity firms CVC, Bain Capital and Advent International have submitted bids for a stake in the business, while Apollo, Fortress and Blackstone’s credit arm GSO have tabled proposals for debt or hybrid financing deals, the source said.

On the top of that, Chinese-owned media firms Wanda Sports and Mediapro have submitted separate proposals to create a dedicated Serie A broadcasting channel that would distribute over multiple platforms, the same source said.

Serie A, which relies on broadcasting rights for more than half of its revenues, lags the financial heavyweights of the English Premier League, La Liga in Spain and the German Bundesliga.

According to a report by consulting firm Deloitte, the Italian league raised 1.5 billion euros (1.3 billion pounds) in broadcasting rights revenues last season against the English Premier League’s 3.5 billion euros.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by James Mackenzie and Mark Potter

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