At least three major investors are submitting bids for a minority stake worth as much as $1.1 billion in the German Football League’s media rights, bringing the long-considered plan a step closer to fruition.
Days after the governing body for German professional soccer reportedly invited five suitors to submit bids, Blackstone, CVC Capital Partners, and EQT are each tendering offers, according to Bloomberg. Advent International, also in the original group, remains interested in a potential stake deal.
The DFL is designed to help bring in outside investors and much-needed cash, particularly as the league attempts to keep up with heightened competition from European powerhouses such as the Premier League and La Liga. A recent DFL letter to the clubs discusses “securing the sporting and economic competitive position of the federal leagues.”
This is the third attempt to sell part of the DFL media rights to private equity, with several of the firms being considered (including CVC, Blackstone, and Advent) previously showing interest. A prior effort in May failed to win sufficient support, and the DFL discontinued a similar initiative in 2021.
The DFL is seeking bids of up to $1.1 billion for a stake as high as 8% in a vehicle holding the DFL’s broadcasting rights.
Notably, bidding terms require that suitors, as well as their own backing investors, come from Western nations, thus excluding highly resourced investors from the Middle East and China that have increasingly become a force elsewhere in sports. The DFL is also reserving the right to exclude bidders from holding more than a 10% stake in a rival league.