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Sport

Serie A eyes vote on media unit stake sale next week - sources

MILAN (Reuters) - Serie A clubs are expected to hold a key meeting next week to vote on the sale of a minority stake in a newly-created unit handling the media rights to Italy’s top flight soccer league, four sources close to the matter said on Monday.

Last month Serie A granted a consortium including CVC, Advent and state-backed Italian fund FSI a four-week exclusive period to discuss an up to 1.6 billion euro ($1.89 billion) bid for a 10% stake in the league’s media unit in a deal that would bring outside investors into one of the game’s biggest leagues.

Over the past few weeks a dedicated Serie A committee and the private equity consortium have been working flat out to fine-tune a whole range of issues, including governance.

The 20 clubs are expected to meet on Nov. 18 to make a final decision on the deal, three sources said, adding that the meeting had not been scheduled yet. Another source said the meeting could be held as early as Nov. 16.

The aim is to close the deal by year-end, the sources said.

Serie A clubs are expected to have a majority of one on the board and would propose who should be the chairman of the new entity, while private equity investors would have a final say in choosing the CEO, the sources said.

The parties have been discussing mechanisms to unblock any potential stalemate on the board of the new company, the sources added.

Like other sports organisations around the world, Serie A faces a drop in revenue due the impact of the novel coronavirus crisis as matches are played in empty stadiums and broadcasters are expected to cut spending on pay-TV deals.

Under the proposed deal, the private equity consortium would split its investment into four tranches, paying 300 million euros at the closing of the deal, a document seen by Reuters showed, providing the clubs with fresh resources to shore up their finances.

($1 = 0.8466 euros)

Reporting by Elvira Pollina, Elisa Anzolin, additional reporting by Clara Denina; Editing by Ken Ferris

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