Germany’s top soccer teams aren’t allowed to be majority-owned by holding companies or investment entities like many of their counterparts throughout Europe. But private equity money appears to be on its way into the league thanks to an evolving media rights strategy.
A vote to allow a financial investor to take a stake in a German Football League media company narrowly received the necessary approval on Monday. Sources told Reuters that 24 of the 36 clubs across the top two Bundesliga divisions voted yes to the measure, which required two-thirds approval.
The company or companies that will invest in German soccer are still to be determined, but potential suitors include private equity firms like Advent International, Blackstone, Bridgepoint, CVC Capital Partners, and EQT. German officials are seeking more than $1 billion for an 8% stake in the new company.
Additional funding would help Bundesliga clubs start closing the gap with Premier League teams, which bring in double the revenue of Germany’s top clubs, according to Deloitte. The most recent figures for Europe’s top five soccer leagues show annual EPL revenue at close to $7 billion, with the Bundesliga generating more than $3 billion.
An investment deal could be completed within the coming months, according to the Bundesliga.