CVC Capital Partners has branched into football after it agreed in principle to inject £2.7bn into La Liga, the Spanish football league that controls the Primera and Segunda divisions.
Over the last three years, CVC has accrued minority stakes in Premiership Rugby, PRO14, and most recently the Six Nations with a total investment worth £665m.
The sale of a 27 per cent stake netted Premiership clubs a £13.5m windfall and the same will happen to La Liga clubs desperately in need of a financial boost.
All in all, 90 per cent of the £2.7bn will be made available to clubs, with £100m set to be invested into women’s football.
A myriad of financial issues have arisen in La Liga, namely at Barcelona and Real Madrid, where debts in excess of £1.2bn led Barcelona to struggle to tie down star Leo Messi to a new contract until it had expired. While at Real Madrid, the renovation of their aging stadium – now into its second year of works – has garnered criticism from fans and club figures eager to see slow progress turned around on top of boasting the second biggest wage bill in the world.
La Liga say the strategy for using the investment by CVC will centre around new global commercial growth, infrastructure, brand development, technology and digital content production. Setting limits on where the money will be spent to make sure it is not used to cover Messi’s wages or for the signing of a high-profile player.
For CVC, their investment in sports reaching a low ebb continues. At the time of their Premiership Rugby deal, clubs accounted for a combined annual loss of £30m – only Exeter Chiefs had recorded a profit.
In March of this year, CVC’s plans to become a dominant commercial power-broker in rugby reached new levels when they bought a £365m stake in the Six Nations.
The Luxembourg-based firm had initially held off on completing the acquisition of a 14 per cent stake due to the coronavirus outbreak, with the conclusion of the 2020 Six Nations tournament postponed until the autumn.
Before their Six Nations deal was completed, CVC had also tried to buy the rights to the All Blacks commercial arm but were beaten to it by US private equity group Silver Lake.