Ligue 1 Taking Private Equity Bids for Media Stake

    • Ligue 1 is lining up bids from private equity firms in a new company that would hold its media rights.
    • It is seeking to raise $1.7 billion.

Ligue 1 is set to become the next major league to sell a stake to private equity.

France’s top soccer league is taking bids for shares in a new entity that would hold its media rights business.

The league is looking to raise $1.7 billion through the investment and reportedly asking bidders how large a stake they seek for that amount, rather than how much they would like to invest price-wise.

  • Hellman & Friedman, Silver Lake, and Oaktree Capital are all expected to bid.
  • Reports from December stated that Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, Advent, and French private equity firms Ardian and BPI had already made bids.
  • Proposals valued the rights between $10.2 billion and $14.1 billion at that time. The league could select more than one partner in an eventual deal.

In December, La Liga ratified an agreement with CVC for $2.3 billion in exchange for an 8.2% stake in a new company to hold the Spanish league’s media rights.

Media Mayhem

Ligue 1 saw its finances thrown into flux when its broadcast partner MediaPro stopped making payments on its rights deal worth $877.9 million per year, prompting Ligue 1 to take out a $253.3 million state-backed loan.

It later struck deals with Canal+ and Amazon on a split $802 million contract. Canal+ attempted to back out when Amazon’s bid was accepted, but a court ruled in August 2021 that it must follow through on its contract.